We’re reminding residents and visitors that BBQs and campfires are not permitted in any of our parks, open spaces or nature reserves, due to the risk of causing an accidental fire which could destroy wildlife, landscapes and be a danger to people and property.
Several fires are accidentally started in our parks and open spaces every year by leftover embers and ash from disposable BBQs and campfires. Even discarded lit cigarettes, sky lanterns and littered glass have the potential to start fires and have been responsible for thousands of grass and open fires around the UK in previous years. The dry grassy areas, trees and underbrush in our parks and open spaces provide ideal fuel for a fire to get started and quickly rage out of control.
Fires can have a devastating effect, with the potential to wipe out important habitats and wildlife. In previous years, we’ve had trees damaged by fire, including a 300-year-old oak tree at Newbold Comyn, as well as damage to other types of habitats which then impacts wildlife, including rare and sensitive species. Luckily these fires were extinguished quickly otherwise the impacts could have been a lot worse!
The UK is one of the world’s most nature depleted countries and biodiversity is declining faster than ever before. It’s never been more important to protect, conserve and enhance the biodiversity of our parks and open spaces. One way we can do this is to protect them from fire.
It’s not only the environment that is harmed by fires, they also put people and property at risk and add pressure to our stretched emergency services who are called upon to put them out. Since 2017, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue has been called to over 600 small fires in Warwick District, some of which were directly caused by BBQs not being extinguished properly before being discarded, often in litter bins or hedgerows.
No-one ever believes it’ll be their actions that cause a fire, but fires can start easily and with top scientists predicting that climate change will result in hotter, drier summers, we need to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfires and protect our parks and open spaces. Please help us by enjoying a picnic, not a BBQ, and by taking any litter home if the bins are full.
If you witness a breach of the ban on BBQs or campfires in our parks, open spaces and nature reserves please report this to 101. However, if the situation is more serious and likely to cause a fire, please call 999 straight away as grass fires can quickly get out of control.