Firefighters want borough barbeque ban after 47 grass fires in July

PUBLISHED: 11:16 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:03 27 July 2018

Firefighters tackle a wildfire in Wanstead Flats on July 15 2018, London's

Firefighters tackle a wildfire in Wanstead Flats on July 15 2018, London's "biggest ever grass fire". It was one of 47 fires in July in Redbridge. Photo: Helen Mathias / EyeContact Photography

HelenMathias-EyeContact Photography

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has asked Redbridge Council to ban barbeques in public spaces after it was called out to 47 grass fires in the month of July in the borough alone.

LFB Commissioner, Dany Cotton said the brigade wants an urgent clamp down on cooking outdoors and the number of grass fire incidents has risen by 38 compared to the same time period in 2017.

“I have attended a number of these large grass fires and it never ceases to shock me how many abandoned smouldering barbecues fire crews spot,” she said.

“In these arid conditions, barbecuing on dry grass is not just thoughtless, it’s reckless.

“We have a lot of green space in London but it’s nearly always lined by roads and houses. It’s only a matter of time before hot smoke and flaming debris catches nearby cars and houses and someone is seriously hurt.”

Since January 2018, crews have put out 90 grass fires in Redbridge, ranking the borough within the top ten London hotspot areas.

“I know a barbecue ban can be difficult to enforce and many councils have already implemented a ban but I am calling on all our partners to do whatever they can to help us protect London’s open spaces from devastating blazes.”

Across London crews have tackled six times as many large grass fires, compared to the previous years and the LFB also warn residents about the dangers of barbecuing and smoking on balconies.

“If you barbecue on your balcony you are putting all your neighbours at risk,” she added.

“Smouldering ash drifts upwards and over balconies, catching on curtains flowing from open windows and dry plants and trees that act as kindling.

”While we have the resources in place to cope, as with any fire, we would rather they didn’t break out in the first place, especially fires that are so easily avoided.”

Redbridge Council have been contacted for comment.

Redbridge Council spokeswoman said a ban on barbeques is already in place,

“There are no barbecues allowed in Redbridge parks as it is a by-law offence and there are signs on our park gates enforcing this.

“Following London’s biggest ever grass fire in Wanstead last week, our staff are vigilant and we regularly remind park users to dispose smoking materials such as cigarettes safely and to clear away all litter, including glass and bottles that could cause a fire.”

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