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Will disposable barbecues be banned in Dorset?

Fire in Hammoon, near Sturminster Newton
Firefighter Dan, Sturminster Newton Fire Station

Dorset Council is exploring potential ways of banning disposable barbecues and other fire activities throughout the county.

In a recent example, more than 220 hectares of forest and heathland burnt down near Wareham, and the Wareham Forest fire was declared a major incident.

Wareham Forest fire

Disposable barbecues and other fires are being held more and more often near dry heath and wooded areas.

The agenda for Dorset Council’s Cabinet meeting shows that options will be considered during their upcoming meeting on 30th June at 10 am.

It’s understood that Dorset Council will be working with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue and other stakeholders to ensure that all routes of controlling or prohibiting the uses of fire are explored.

We were all saddened by the fire at Wareham Forest this spring.  Not only was it devastating for the forest’s wildlife and habitat, it risked human life and would have been horrendous for the wider environment due to the resulting smoke.

We need a consistent approach which works across the whole area to prevent this happening again. This is a complex issue, for example we cannot risk pushing the problem to land managed by organisations which may not have the resources or enforcement powers in place to prohibit activities which present a fire risk. We need an approach that works across the area.

The development of the options paper would enable us to understand how we can work effectively to cover all areas. We know we have wider support amongst Dorset residents to introduce new measures to help prevent further devastating fires like the recent one in Wareham, so now it’s up to us to establish what we can do.

Councillor Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment
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