Carmarthenshire’s beautiful countryside and coast makes the ideal backdrop for a summer barbecue, but the county council is urging people to ensure they are kept under control and disposed of safely to prevent fires taking hold.
With the grass dry following a period intense heat, there are concerns about the risks of grass and forest fires, particularly in popular spots such as country parks, playing fields and along roadside verges.
Carmarthenshire County Council has issued advice and will be stepping up patrols at council-run locations to advise people about safety.
Grass fires can get out of control very quickly, cause extensive damage and put lives and wildlife at risk.
Discarded items such as cigarette butts and glass bottles can also cause fires.
Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for Public Protection, said: “With the heatwave set to continue into the weekend, many families are likely to bring out the barbecue, but we are urging people to put safety first.
“Barbecues can be enjoyed safely if they are closely monitored, under control and disposed of in the right way.
“Litter is also a concern and as well as being unsightly can become a serious risk to our environment.
“We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but of course our priority is to keep everyone safe.”
Tips for barbecuing in a public place
- If you are planning to have a barbecue in a public place, ensure that you are allowed to do so at the location you intend to use – and never leave the barbecue unattended
- Particular care should be taken in hot, dry weather to reduce the risk of starting a forest or grass fire
- Take care when getting rid of a disposable barbecue or barbecue coals – ensure they have cooled down before placing them in a bin, charcoal can stay hot for a long time, even if it looks like the heat has gone
- Never take a used barbecue into an enclosed space, like a tent, as this may cause fatal carbon monoxide poisoning
Tips to help to prevent grass fires
- Avoid using open fires in the countryside
- Keep young children and ball games away from barbecues
- Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly
- Only use barbecues in suitable and safe areas and never leave them unattended
- Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows
- Ensure barbecues are fully extinguished and cold before disposing of the contents
- Sunlight shining through glass can start large fires – take glass bottles/jars to the nearest community recycling center on your way home if there is no glass recycling facility in the vicinity
If a fire breaks out
- Call the Fire and Rescue Service – 999 – immediately
- It can be hard to give the location for an open area so mention any landmarks, such as a public house or a church in the vicinity
- Do not attempt to put the fire out yourself unless it is very small. Grass and crop fire can travel very quickly and change direction without warning
Barbecue food safety advice
- Pre-cook food in a conventional oven before lighting the barbecue, which can then be used to give the food a smoky flavour
- Avoid cross-contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking, using different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food, and washing hands thoroughly before and after handling raw foods including meat, fish, eggs and vegetables
- Never wash raw chicken or other meat, which can cause bacteria to splash on to other foods or preparation surfaces
- When cooking, remember that disposable barbecues take longer, so move the food around the barbecue and turn frequently to ensure even cooking, and cut open meat to ensure it is cooked through