BBQ warning after beach fire

13 April 2010, 12:58 | Updated: 13 April 2010, 13:05

Firefighters are reminding people of the potential hazards of outdoor cooking following a fire at West Wittering beach on Sunday (April 11).

Fire Crews from East Wittering and Chichester were called to East Head Spit, a protected National Trust site, when a fire started among gorse and grass following a family BBQ.

“This was the first warm, sunny weekend of the year. So it was natural people should want to get outside and enjoy it. But this incident comes as a timely reminder to take a few simple safety precautions if you’re barbecuing or cooking outdoors,” said Jackie Boyle, Community Fire Safety Officer, West Sussex County Council Fire and Rescue Service, “Thankfully, on this occasion the fire was extinguished before it caused any serious damage. But it could easily have spread. There are some very basic things you can do to minimise any potential fire risk.”

Peter Evans, County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “The concern is that as the warm dry weather continues the risk of fires in open areas amongst shrubs, grass and hedgerows can increase.”

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s barbecue basics are:

  • Before lighting your barbecue check you are in an authorised area.
  • Make sure your barbecue is placed on clear level ground where it will not tip over.
  • Position the barbecue somewhere sheltered away from anything that may catch light such as fences, sheds, overhanging trees or shrubs.
  • Only use approved barbecue fuel or firelighters – never use petrol or paraffin.
  • Keep children and pets well away from the cooking area.
  • Never leave the barbecue unattended.
  • When you have finished cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before you try to move it.
  • If barbecuing in the garden empty spent ash onto bare garden soil - never put it in the dustbin.

For a full guide to safe barbecuing, including the use of gas BBQs log onto or call the Community Fire Safety Team on 01243 752451.