East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is issuing a plea for people to avoid having barbecues this Bank Holiday, and opt for sandwiches and picnics at home instead.
The call follows a spell of dry weather and a recent fire at Ashdown Forest which is believed to have been caused by a barbecue.
There are also concerns that barbecues on balconies could lead to avoidable fires and accidents.
Lisa Priestman from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Community Safety team said:
“This summer, we recognise that the Covid 19 restrictions are having a big impact on how people enjoy the outdoors and some of us cannot easily get to open spaces. It’s very tempting to have a barbecue on a balcony to make the most of the good weather but this has lots of risks, including sparks falling onto other balconies, the ground below or even blowing into homes. We would ask that you please opt for a balcony picnic instead, or cook in your oven and take the food outside.”
If you are keen to eat outdoors, please follow some simple safety tips.
• Set up your barbecue on level ground away from bushes, tents or other buildings
• If your only outdoor space is a balcony, please use your oven to cook the food to avoid ash or sparks blowing into the building or onto other balconies
• Put only about 2 inches of charcoal in the barbecue and keep the rest away from the fire
• Make sure the coals are cool before trying to move the barbecue and empty ash onto garden soil
• Have a means of extinguishing any fire in an emergency on hand, such as a bucket of water
• If you are using a disposable barbecue, you should always ensure your barbecue is fully cooled before disposing of it by pouring cold water on it.
• Even if you have finished cooking your BBQ should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use putting you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.