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Should disposable barbecues be banned?

Following one of the most devastating forest and heath fires in Dorset in living memory many people are calling for disposable barbecues to be banned.

The blaze that started at Wareham Forest on 18th May burned for over six days and destroyed more than 220 hectares of forest and healthland.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, whose crews from all 50 fire stations from across the service battled with the blaze which they say was started through ‘social activity’ – discarded barbecues, campfires and glass bottles were found at the site.

Forestry England who manage Wareham Forest say:

“It’s heartbreaking to see the damage this fire caused and a devastating blow to our staff that care for this forest.

It will take many decades to restore and regrow this area. It’s especially damaging to the rare birds, plants, reptiles, and invertebrates that usually thrive here.”

Dorset locals are calling for disposable barbecues to be banned due to the potential fire risk and litter they cause but why are disposable barbecues so potentially dangerous to our rural beauty spots?

Additional risks with disposable barbecues

There are risks with using any charcoal barbecue but there are additional risks to using disposable barbecues:

  • As they are portable, they may be used in unsuitable locations such as under trees or near long grass, bushes or fences which may easily catch fire
  • The bottom of the barbecue is foil and can get extremely hot, so there is potential to damage the ground underneath
  • They can easily tip over
  • They may take several hours to cool down and so are often left whilst still hot
  • If they are placed in a bin before they are completely cool they may set the bin or rubbish bag alight.
  • Barbecues produce carbon monoxide which is toxic and using them in a non-ventilated area can be fatal.

What are your views? Have you ever used a disposable barbecue? Would you take one with you on a picnic? Do you believe them to be dangerous enough to be banned?

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