Barbecue warning issued after avoidable fire at Edinburgh beauty spot

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Scotland's fire and rescue service is warning against the careless use of barbecues following a recent fire at an Edinburgh beauty spot.


Scotland's fire and rescue service is warning against the careless use of barbecues following a recent fire at an Edinburgh beauty spot.

A large area of gorse and grassland within the Pentland Hills ignited last month after a disposable barbecue was left unattended.

Firefighters were called to the area on the evening of June 24 and spent several hours working to extinguish the subsequent fire.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Station Commander Andy Rae explained how the wind direction and tireless efforts of his crews prevented further fire spread.

He said: "The fire itself was very difficult to put out as it was located at the top of a very steep hill. Our firefighters had to work for several hours to get the incident under control.

"We were lucky that the wind was not blowing in the opposite direction because that could have spread the fire further and resulted in it burning for days.

"It is frustrating because this could have easily been avoided if people were to consider their actions and surroundings before walking away."

 Emergency service crews attended 46 fires caused by barbecues across Scotland during 2021. This represents a 12-year high and is double the figure recorded five years earlier in 2016.

Between January and June this year alone, firefighters have attended 22 needless fires caused by barbecues.

The SFRS is urging people to exercise caution this summer and follow key safety advice when planning a barbecue or using a disposal barbecue.

  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended and never mix alcohol when cooking.
  • Make sure your barbecue site is flat and well away from things like grass, shrubs, or sheds.
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area at all times.
  • Do not dispose of ashes from barbecues until they are cold to the touch. 
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to light your barbecue; use only recognised lighters or starter fuels on cold coals.
  • Use enough charcoal (usually five centimetres or two inches) to cover the base of the barbecue.
  • Never take a portable barbecue - or lit charcoal - into an enclosed space like a tent or caravan.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to put out clothing that is on fire – stop, drop and roll

Station Commander Rae stressed the importance of taking these simple steps. He said: "Never just walk away and leave a barbecue and always wait till ashes are cold to touch before binning them.

"Every summer we attend bin fires across Scotland which have been caused by burning ashes being prematurely disposed of.

"We don't want to ruin anyone's fun but taking some very simple steps can drastically reduce the risk of things getting out of hand."

You can find out more about how to enjoy a #SaferSummer here 


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