BBQ's on Dorset heathland can burn 'more than bangers'

BBQ's on Dorset heathland can burn 'more than bangers'

Published by George Sharpe at 12:01am 16th May 2020. (Updated at 12:05am 16th May 2020)

A new campaign is being launched, to remind us that having BBQ's on heathlands is illegal. 

'BBQ's Burn More Than Bangers' is being started by Litter Free Dorset (LFD), the Urban Heath Partnership (UHP) and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS)

They're raising awareness because Dorset has over 100 heathland wildfires a year and a lot of these are due to BBQ's going wrong. 

Sophie Colley is the Co-ordinator at Litter Free Dorset:

"BBQ's are illegal on heathlands and the impact of having a BBQ on a heathland can be detrimental to the wildlife living there and have a huge effect on community surrounding.

"It's really an issue that affects everyone in the area and when we're a little bit more constricted, our open spaces to be enjoyed by all and that's why it's important to get this message out this week."

A BBQ caused a heath fire in Puddletown Forest last month.

Arson on heathlands is becoming more common, whether it's accidental or deliberate. 

She says the partnership wants to remind us that there are safer, designated areas for people to BBQ in:

"I think we can all agree that we enjoy a BBQ, meeting up with our family and friends, it's one of the things we all look forward to.

"However, if a BBQ's not done safely, or left behind can have a huge impact, so it's really important that we are safe and considerate when we are having our BBQ's."

There are 8,500 hectares of heathlands in Dorset with rare vegetation, animals and insects.

puddletown forest fire bbq
The Puddletown Forest fire last month was started by a disposable BBQ.

Residents have to evacuate and there is a risk of fire damage to properties where lives could be lost.

Back in 2011, a wildfire on Upton Heath damaged 250 acres of heathland, which resulted in the evacuation of residents and required the assistance of 185 firefighters and 30 fire engines.

It damaged 250 acres of heathland, damaged properties and injured four firemen.

Paul Attwell the team manager at the Urban Heath Partnership says: 

"This year there's already been a wildfire started by a BBQ in Wareham Forest. We're asking people not to have BBQ's on Heathlands and instead go to a designated BBQ area to prevent fire risk."

You can help the campaign by not barbecuing on Dorset's heathlands, instead, pack a picnic or visit one of the designated BBQ spots. 

Which you can find on the Litter Free Dorset website: http://www.litterfreedorset.co.uk