Can you BBQ in a heatwave? Is there a ban on lighting a BBQ during latest heatwave - advice explained

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Last year, fire services asked members of the public to refrain from using disposable BBQs due to the hot weather

The UK is once again heading for another heatwave this summer. Temperatures are expected to reach 30C, whilst the Met Office have issued their first yellow heat-health warning due to the high temperatures. Last July, the UK experienced its hottest weather since records began, with temperatures soaring to 41C. And of course with this, more people are planning to enjoy the hot summer weather by having a BBQ with friends and family.

Even though a drought has not yet been declared this year, in 2022, England had 26% less rainfall on average. So we're asking can you use a BBQ during a heatwave? Here’s everything you need to know.

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Can you have a BBQ during a heatwave?

Last year, fire services across the UK issued warnings to people who want to have BBQs during the hot weather. They recommended that BBQs are only used in a “suitable and safe”, calling anyone who uses a BBQ on dry grass “reckless”. They asked members of the public to never leave a BBQ unattended and to ensure the fire has been put out completely after use.

A group of friends enjoy a barbecue in Windsor, England (Pic: Getty Images)A group of friends enjoy a barbecue in Windsor, England (Pic: Getty Images)
A group of friends enjoy a barbecue in Windsor, England (Pic: Getty Images) | Getty Images

BBQs should not be lit in open countryside, sand dunes or woodland. There is a real risk of wildfires in the UK due to the extreme, prolonged high temperatures that the region has been experiencing.

In 2022, eight areas of England were declared to be in a drought, with many areas of grass left parched. France battled a wave of wildfires in its south west region, which burnt more than 6,500 hectares.

Is there a ban on lighting BBQs?

At present, there are no bans in place on lighting BBQs. However, in last year's heatwave, some councils across England imposed bans on disposable BBQs. Birmingham City and Nottingham City councils were among several to have imposed this, after fire and rescue services had to deal with a number of fires caused by them.

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Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service called for disposable BBQs to be banned altogether, citing the cost of tackling a recent fire which reached £250,000.

Some supermarket chains banned disposable BBQs from their stores including Marks and Spencer, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, Waitrose and Co-Op. Sainsbury’s withdrew disposable BBQs as a “precautionary measure”, whilst Tesco also withdrew their sale. An online petition to ban disposable BBQs in environmentally vulnerable areas gathered over 20,000 signatures.

What is the latest advice?

According to London Fire Brigade, it is still fine to BBQ - as long as it is done responsibly, especially when kids and pets are involved. They have issued the following advice:

5 ways to stay BBQ safe

  • Never use a BBQ – including disposables – indoors or on your balcony.
  • Be careful where you position your BBQ – we suggest on level ground, well away from anything flammable like sheds, fences, trees or tents.
  • Don't use petrol, paraffin or any flammable liquids on your BBQ – firelighters are a much safer option.
  • Carefully supervise children – little ones can all too easily trip and fall, while older children might hurt themselves trying to help.
  • Be pet-aware – dogs (and some cats!) love to snaffle sausages and can cause accidents getting under your feet. To be really safe, keep Fido indoors, or at least out of the immediate vicinity of the BBQ.
  • Never use a disposable BBQ in a public park or open green space.

They also say BBQs can stay hot for hours, so be really careful moving them. It can also give off carbon monoxide fumes for several hours after they go out, so don't bring them indoors, or into a tent, with you. When it comes to disposable BBQs, they add:

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