Thursday 08 June 2023
As we head into the summer months, when it comes to beach barbecues and their proper disposal, islanders are being reminded to 'think before you bin' to prevent out-of-control fires as part of the #BeFireSmart campaign.
In previous years, multiple fires have occurred in coastal litter bins from the hot embers of disposable barbecues, posing a risk to the surrounding environment and requiring replacement at public expense. Last summer, for example, the Guernsey Fire & Rescue Service attended four fires started solely by disposable barbecues during the summer period.
Beach barbecues are only permitted on the North and West coast beaches, excluding the Richmond end of Vazon. It is important that islanders comply with seven simple, but important, safety standards when having a barbecue or a contained fire:
- Light after 5pm and put out by midnight
- Light in a spot where smoke won't disturb other people
- Light in a small fire bowl or bucket
- Light below the high tide mark, at least 4m away from any vegetation and away from shingle (stones can explode if they get too hot!)
- Remember to have a container on hand to collect seawater to cool the barbecue
- Safely extinguish a barbecue, embers and surrounding sand by dousing in water until they are cold. Handy tip: embers are cold enough if the ash no longer hisses, there is no more smoke and the remnants are cold to the touch
- Dispose of the cold remnants properly by either taking them home or by putting carefully in a litter bin
If a barbecue is being organised for more than 50 people, it is classed as an event and will require a permit. Further information can be found at gov.gg/beachbbq.
Barbecues are not permitted on grassland or forested areas, as open flames around dry vegetation can cause fires to escape and destroy valuable resources, habitats, and homes.
Andy McCutcheon, Principal Environment Services Officer, said:
"In the past we've seen the significant damage caused by barbecues that haven't been properly disposed of, but it's so easy to avoid. 'Think before you bin' is a simple message which when followed will go a long way to avoiding out-of-control fires.
"Before you head to the beach, remember to take a container with you to collect seawater. Then, after you've enjoyed your barbecue with friends or family, please douse the barbecue and surrounding sand with seawater until the ash no longer hisses and it's cold to the touch. These are simple steps which help to make our beaches safer for everyone and help to protect our environment."