Emergency services across the country have declared major incidents because of the number of fires during the record-breaking heatwave, and are urging people to do more to prevent blazes.
Disposable barbecues, bonfires, cigarettes and broken bottles and glass on the ground are among the main causes of the thousands of grass fires recorded around the UK this summer.
Since the beginning of June, London Fire Brigade has attended more than 1,000 grass fires and fires on open land – and Fire Commissioner Andy Roe on Tuesday wrote to every council in the seeking their support for a temporary ban on disposable barbecues in all public parks and open spaces.
He wrote: “With no end to the hot weather in sight, I am deeply concerned that the unprecedented scale of these fires is set to continue, putting lives at risk as well as devastating green spaces around the capital
London Fire Brigade has called a Major Incident. Remember:⚠️ Don't BBQ on grass or balconies⚠️ Don't leave broken bottles or glass on the grass (it can start fires)⚠️ Dispose of cigarettes safely⚠️ Report a fire as soon as you see one Don't take risks. Stay safe in the heat https://t.co/tNt0OAtsl7
— Fiona Twycross (@fionatwycross) July 19, 2022
“London Fire Brigade has been issuing warnings and safety advice to Londoners throughout the summer, but people are continuing to behave carelessly and recklessly.
“I am now calling for a temporary ban on the use of barbecues in all public parks and open spaces and I’m asking for your help to keep people safe.”
Some London councils already have bans and warning signage in place, and Mr Roe urged the rest to take action.
🔥We have declared a major incident due to high demand across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland🔥 We will not be attending Automatic Fire alarms. Please only call us if it’s an emergency📞 pic.twitter.com/AGTWJHbNwL
— Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (@LeicsFireRescue) July 19, 2022
He also said people can help by ensuring their cigarettes are always properly disposed of, as even the tiniest of sparks can cause a significant fire.
Labour’s London Assembly fire and resilience spokesperson, Anne Clarke, said: “I’m urging all Londoners not to have barbecues or bonfires, especially in parks or open spaces, please don’t leave broken bottles or glass on the ground as these can cause fires and dispose of cigarettes safely.”
She added: “It’s critical people only call 999 if there is a genuine emergency or if there’s an immediate risk to life.
“But, if you do see a fire smouldering, however small it may look, don’t hesitate to call 999. The sooner they know about a fire, the sooner it can be brought under control.”