Disposable barbecue danger alert at home and in parks and open spaces

Dangers from throwaway barbecues have prompted warnings from Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service.

This comes as the weather heats up in Buckinghamshire and people enjoy meeting outdoors with friends and family in line with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

With temperatures set to reach 27 degrees this week, it seems as though barbecue season is upon us. Along with the delicious food and family friendly fun a social barbecue can bring, there are also some dangers to using disposable barbecues which can be easily avoided providing we all stay vigilant.

Barbecues, camp fires and stoves are not allowed in Buckinghamshire country parks and residents are urged not to light fires or use any device with a naked flame in woodland or open spaces, and to dispose of cigarettes carefully.

Top tips if using a disposable barbecue:

  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
  • Do not place the disposable barbecue directly on to grass or a flammable surface.
  • Never leave a lit barbecue unattended.
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
  • In the countryside or public park areas, only use disposable barbecues where there are specially designated areas and carefully follow the safety guidance.
  • Avoid open flames in woodland, including parks, open spaces etc.
  • After use, please make sure it is fully extinguished by pouring plenty of water onto it.
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
  • Do not place a disposable barbecue in a rubbish bin or take it to a local household recycling centre until it has cooled down completely. Fires at waste sites and in bin lorries can start from the smallest spark or heat source, especially in summer, so it’s even more important to wait until the barbecue is completely cool.

For more information on how to safely dispose of a throwaway barbecue, please check the online waste wizard.

Peter Strachan, Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, commented:

"As the weather improves and restrictions lift we find ourselves able to enjoy the wonderful parks and open spaces we're fortunate to have in Buckinghamshire, however I urge that we remain vigilant about the risk of fire, especially when the weather is mild and dry.

“It also goes without saying that people should dispose of all their rubbish in the bins provided or better still, take it all home. That way we keep our countryside and open spaces as safe, clean and tidy as possible for everyone to enjoy.

“We see fires in the back of bin wagons and at Household Recycling Centres in the summer and often this is a result of barbeques disposed of on the same day or before they have cooled. This results in closed sites, damaged vehicles and of course danger to our site staff and crews.”

Community Safety Manager Joanne Cook of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said:

“It is easy to underestimate how much heat is transferred through the base of a disposable barbecue, which can burn grass or undergrowth it is placed on.

“When using a disposable barbecue in a permitted location, always raise it on something which will not be affected by heat, such as a purpose made base or some bricks.”

For more information on fire safety outdoors, including the countryside code, visit the Bucks Fire and Rescue website.

Disposable barbecue