London’s Fire Commissioner has called for an urgent barbecue ban as firefighters continue to feel the effects of unprecedented heatwave temperatures for a second day.
The UK is expected to see record temperatures of up to 40C today (Tuesday). This comes after days of exceptionally hot weather which has resulted in an incredibly busy period for the capital’s firefighters.
London Fire Brigade has attended more than 1,000 grass and open land fires since the beginning of June, prompting Fire Commissioner Andy Roe to write to all London local authorities asking for their support in a temporary ban of disposable barbecues in all public parks and open spaces.
Barbecues are one of the most common causes of grass and open land blazes and while many councils already have localised bans in place, Commissioner Roe has asked for support city-wide.
In his letter, Commissioner Roe says: “With no end to the hot weather in sight, I am deeply concerned that the unprecedented scale of these fires is set to continue, putting lives at risk as well as devastating green spaces around the capital.
“London Fire Brigade has been issuing warnings and safety advice to Londoners throughout the summer, but people are continuing to behave carelessly and recklessly.
“I am now calling for a temporary ban on the use of barbecues in all public parks and open spaces and I’m asking for your help to keep people safe.”
While many parks and spaces already have bans and warning signage in place, Commissioner Roe is now calling on all London councils to support a temporary ban and assist the Brigade in highlighting its messaging and the concerns around barbecues.
As well as heeding advice on barbecues, people can also help by ensuring they are making sure their cigarettes are always properly disposed of and that rubbish, especially glass, is safely thrown away. After so much dry weather, even the tiniest of sparks can easily cause a significant fire.
Commissioner Roe said: “As we have also sadly seen on more than once occasion so far this summer, it is really dangerous to enter open water.
“We understand people will be looking for ways to cool down, but the water is colder than it looks and your body can go into cold water shock which causes panic, anxiety, disorientation and loss of muscular control.
“We’re not trying to take the fun out of the heatwave which we know some people will be enjoying, but it is a very serious situation for many. For the sake of our city – and of our firefighters who have to work in sweltering temperatures to tackle these blazes – we’d really like people to take our advice on board.”