London Fire Brigade

Brigade braced for record bank holiday BBQ blazes

26 May 2017

This May bank holiday weekend is forecasted the hottest since records began and we’re expecting the heat wave to increase the number of barbecue blazes across the capital.

In the past seven weeks there have been 19 barbecue related fires across London. If the trend continues we believes this year could the worse year for barbecue fires since 2013/14 when there was 70.

Hottest since records began

Britain has only seen highs over 31C on six dates before May 28 since records began in the 1850s, according to date temperature records.

Barbecues can cause serious fires if they are not used properly but by following basic safety advice the risk of fire and injury can be greatly reduced. Firefighters are urging garden chefs to make sure their barbecues are kept away from fences and sheds and never leave it unattended. With more and more people using gas barbecues the Brigade is also reminding Londoners to safely store cylinders and valves are turned off before you change the cylinder.

The London Fire Brigade’s Director of Operations Tom George said:

“With the exceptionally hot weather, as well as the FA Cup final and Rugby Premiership final this weekend I’d imagine people will be firing up their barbecues. We’re concerned if people don’t take care there could be a spate of barbecue fires that could easily be prevented.

“Barbecues are fine as long as you take a few sensible steps, such as lighting them well away from anything that could catch fire and never leaving them unattended. It’s important to take care with gas barbecues too as gas can explode when exposed to heat.

“It’s also important to read the manufacturer’s instructions on your barbecue and check that all joints are tightened.”

Temperatures this weekend are expected to reach 30C on Friday and Saturday before becoming cooler on Sunday.

Our top barbecue safety tips:

• Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies
• Barbecues must be placed on level ground so they don’t tip over
• Only use approved barbecue fuel or fire lighters. Never use petrol or paraffin.

Get our full advice on BBQ safety