London Fire Brigade

Heatwave sparks barbecue fire warning

18 July 2016

With a heatwave set to hit the UK this week and temperatures expected to reach 32C, we're urging Londoners to take care with barbecues to prevent serious fires.

New figures show that the capital's firefighters attend two barbecue blazes every week over the summer.

Last year we attended 61 barbecue blazes, which is up on the previous year, and fire chiefs are hoping to prevent a spike in these fires during the current hot spell by asking Londoners to follow some simple safety rules. 

In May, residents in a Greenwich flat had a lucky escape when a disposable barbecue was left unattended and flames spread to decking on the balcony. Thankfully firefighters were able to put out the blaze before the fire reached the flat.

In June, firefighters were called out in the early hours after a barbecue caused a fire on a roof terrace in Paddington.

Al fresco chefs take note!

Head of Community Safety, Chris O'Connor, explains how al fresco chefs are being caught by surprise: "All too often barbecues are left unattended or placed too close to flammable items like sheds, trees or fences.

"Even small disposable barbecues can cause considerable damage if you don’t keep a close eye on them.

"It's really important to make sure they're completely out once you've finished with them.

"It seems crazy that we need to tell people not to use barbecues on balconies or indoors, but we clearly do.

"Barbecue fires can spread quickly and could not only damage your home, but could cause serious injuries or worse."



Top barbecue safety tips

Our top five barbecue safety tips are:

  • Keep barbecues away from homes, sheds, fences, garden furniture, trees, shrubs and tents.
  • Make sure barbecues are placed on level ground where they won't tip over.
  • Don't drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue.
  • Keep children, pets and garden games well away from the cooking area.
  • Never leave barbecues unattended.

Making sure barbecues are properly extinguished is important and ash should never be put in a dustbin.

Fire chiefs advise that it is a good idea to keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby in case of an emergency.

Residents in flats are being urged never to dispose of disposable barbecues down rubbish chutes, unless they are completely certain the barbecue is cold.

For more advice follow our barbeque safety tips.