Heatwave: London fire chief calls for urgent barbecue ban as blazes rage in record heat
An urgent and immediate ban on disposable barbecues has been called for by the London Fire Brigade as multiple blazes rage across the country.
The emergency service said it had attended more than 1,000 grass and open land fires since the start of June, as the UK recorded its hottest ever temperature today.
The Brigade’s commissioner wrote to all London local authorities calling in wake of the first ever UK recording of 40 celsius at Heathrow, calling for barbecues to be banned.
This comes after the Met Office issued a red level four extreme heat warning for Monday and Tuesday, urging people not to travel unnecessarily.
Today there have been shocking scenes of wildfires and open grass fires in south London, Dartford and elsewhere.
According to the BBC, more than 250 firefighters are tackling London’s grass fires currently, including 175 in Upminster, as smoke billows over the M25.
Earlier today, Oxford Circus was evacuated after reports of of smoke, believed to have been caused by escalator break pads overheating. There was no fire as 2,000 were evacuated.
In his letter to London Local Authorities, Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said he was “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.”
He warmed “people are continuing to behave carelessly and recklessly” as he backed a “temporary ban on the use of barbecues in all public parks and open spaces.”
Some local authorities already have in place bans on disposable barbecues in public spaces.
Roe also urged people to ensure cigarettes are properly disposed of and rubbish, such as glass, is safely thrown away so it doesn’t cause a spark. Commissioner Roe said.
Warning barbecues are one of the most common causes of the fire, the Commissioner said fires cause serious damage to people’s health and lives, and the emergency service is coming under increasing pressure in their ability to respond.
London mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted in wake of the letter, the LFB had “just declared a major Incident in response to a huge surge in fires across the capital today.
Footage emerged of major fires raging across greater London:
“This is critical: London Fire Brigade is under immense pressure. Please be safe.
“I’m in touch with the Commissioner and will share updates when I have them.”
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s commented: “We offer customers the choice of reusable and disposable BBQs. Our disposable BBQ packaging includes advice on safe use and disposal, which customers are encouraged to follow.”
Morrisons confirmed it has already stopped selling them near any national parks, while other retailers including Tesco and Asda have been approached about whether they will continue to sell disposable barbecues.