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Following four barbecue blazes in the capital during last Sunday’s hot weather, the London Fire Brigade has issued an urgent ‘barbecue blaze’ warning. Forecasters are expecting a heat wave to kick in at the weekend, prompting fears that the number of barbecue blazes could jump.
The Brigade said there were four fires in the space of two and a half hours last Sunday, all involving gas barbecues.
The London Fire Brigade’s Head of Operations, Prevention and Response Dave Brown said:
“With the hot weather, as well as the Wimbledon final and Lions rugby match this weekend I’d imagine a few people will be planning barbecues. We’re concerned if people don’t take care there could be a spate of barbecue fires that could easily be prevented with a little common sense.
“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.”
This weekend is forecast to be the hottest of the year with temperatures set to reach 29C in the capital.
Last weekend saw barbecue blazes break out in Bromley, Beckenham, West Drayton, and Charlton. At the Bromley fire, a gas barbecue was being used on the balcony of a flat and at another incident, a 25 metre hazard zone was set up, due to fears the barbecue’s gas cylinders could explode.
London Fire Brigade’s 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.
• When you have finished cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before you try to move it.
• Empty the spent ash on to bare garden soil - never put it in the dustbin.
For gas barbecues:
• If using gas, store gas cylinders outside, away from direct sunlight and frost.
• Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder.
• After cooking, turn the gas supply off first and then the barbecue control. This will stop any gas from leaking.
• Make sure all joints are tightened, safe and secure.
Read more about barbecue safety here.