With the UK experiencing glorious weather this summer and Watford’s parks attracting thousands of visitors every week – we are reminding park-users that they cannot bring barbecues or light fires...
With the UK experiencing glorious weather this summer and Watford’s parks attracting thousands of visitors every week – Watford Borough Council and Veolia are reminding park-users that they cannot bring barbecues or light fires in the town’s parks.
People who use barbecues in parks nearly always leave behind scorched patches of burned grass that take months to recover. After days of sunshine when ground conditions are dry, it increases the risk of fires getting out of control. On other occasions people have tipped burning hot coals into litter bins and have nearly set them on fire. All of the above cause nuisance smoke for other park users and fire hazards which include some having to be dealt with by Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. Over the last year, firefighters were called out to 27 fire-related incidents in Watford parks.
Residents are urged to remain vigilant and call 999 if they see any smouldering as grass fires can quickly get out of control. Here are some tips on preventing grass fires:
- Don’t use disposable barbecues at all in public spaces, especially during prolonged hot weather
- Dispose of smoking materials such as cigarettes and matches safely
- Clear away bottles, glasses and any broken glass to avoid them magnifying the sun and starting a fire
- Explain to children the dangers of playing with and lighting fires
Trevor Brown, Group Commander Watford & Three Rivers said “Barbecues cause so much damage to grassed areas and wildlife that there really is no alternative other than to ban them. People can still enjoy picnics as long as they comply with safe distancing rules but barbecues are not permitted. Our local parks are a great place to relax and socialise, we are just asking people to have consideration for others and to take care of their surroundings.”
The council and Veolia is also calling on everyone who visits parks and green spaces to make sure they bag up their rubbish and dispose of it properly, even if that means bringing it home with them.
Environment spokesman Cllr Tim Williams said: “Abuse of our parks is never acceptable and there is no excuse for it. We are working closely with Veolia, Herts Police and Herts Fire Service on these issues. It is disappointing that these requests are necessary, but I am grateful to the vast majority of people who visit our parks and behave responsibly. Our local parks and open spaces have been a lifeline for many people over the past few months and we will do whatever it takes to protect them.”
To find out more about our parks, visit www.watford.gov.uk/parks