Firefighters are reminding people to take extra care when they are barbecuing after attending a spate of fires started by hot ashes.
Over the weekend firefighters were called to 7 separate fires involving barbecues in Goring-By-Sea, Shoreham, Bepton, Crawley, Petworth, Cuckfield and Salvington. Thankfully, everyone involved escaped injury but barbecues can present a serious risk unless simple safety precautions are followed.
Each year West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is called to extinguish dozens of blazes where barbecues have got out of hand or coals have been discarded carelessly.
Adam Condell, Worthing Watch Manager for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, who attended the incident in Salvington, said:
"Thankfully, nobody has been hurt but it could have been very different. In one of the incidents we attended discarded charcoal set fire to a waste bin which then spread to a fence and caused damage to two properties.
"Charcoal may be cool to the touch but the coals in the centre may still remain smouldering. We would recommended that barbecues are left for several hours to completely cool down before disposal. Hot coals should never be discarded into rubbish bins.”
"Hopefully, we have a long hot summer ahead of us. Whether you are using barbecues at home or getting out into the Sussex countryside, following a few common sense tips should ensure that everyone can enjoy themselves safely."
When using a disposable barbecue make sure the coals are completely cold before throwing them away
Make sure that your barbecue is placed on clear level ground where it will not tip over
Use approved barbecue fuel or firelighters to light it, never petrol or paraffin
Keep barbecues away from the house, shed, fences, garden furniture or overhanging trees and shrubs
Keep children and pets well away from the cooking area
Don't leave your barbecue unattended at any time
Empty any spent ash on to bare soil, not into a dustbin
If you are lighting a barbecue in the countryside or on the beach - check beforehand that it is an authorised area.
For a full range of fire safety advice visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire