Protect the parks by not using BBQs
As temperatures soar in London this weekend and into next week, we're reminding visitors that BBQs are not permitted in the parks, due to the risk of causing an accidental fire which could destroy wildlife, landscapes and be a danger to visitors.
The Met Office has issued the first heat-health alert of the year and put a ‘very high fire severity’ warning in place for the weekend.
Several fires are accidentally started in the Royal Parks every year by embers and ash falling from disposable BBQs. Previously we have lost wildlife such as slower moving reptiles, amphibians and insects to grassland fires in Richmond Park, which is an important habitat for wildlife and a National Nature Reserve.
The fires can have a devastating effect, destroying historic parkland that hosts a rich diversity of wildlife and wiping out valuable wildflower meadowland. In previous years, fires have destroyed veteran trees, destroyed flower seed banks, and harmed or even killed birds and mammals.
The charity warns that fires have started when people have positioned their BBQs under the shade of large trees which could be hundreds of years old. Some of the oldest trees in the parks have become hollow over time, creating a chimney effect when a fire starts – enabling the fire to spread through the tree rapidly, destroying the tree and killing animals.
In Richmond Park, trees that have stood for over 700 years have gone up in flames following accidental fires caused by BBQs.
As well as the impacts to the important natural environment, these fires also pose risks to people and property including those people tackling the fires.