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Protect against garden fires!

Protect against garden fires!

 London’s burning: Fire brigade stats show garden fires rocket in summer

With the longer, hotter summers climate change is bringing, people are spending more and more time out in their gardens barbecuing and using fire pits.

However, recent statistics highlighted by the insurer Policy Expert suggest that householders should be taking more care with their fire-related outdoor fun.

More summer fires

Last year, the London Fire Brigade had to attend 1,185 garden fires, Policy Expert’s analysis shows.

Nearly half of the incidents, 522, occurred during the summer months, emphasising just how dangerous it can be when you mix hot barbecue coals and burning wood with people living in urban areas who have generally smaller gardens!

Which parts of London are most affected by garden fires?

The statistics show that the worst affected borough was Croydon, with the fire brigade attending to 73 calls outs there.

Next are the boroughs of Enfield and Hounslow, with 72 and 68 call outs respectively.

Suburban areas with gardens suffer more

It’s noticeable that many of the boroughs in the top 10 ‘offenders’ are more suburban than those with the least number of garden fires.

Barnet, Hillingdon and Croydon, for example, are toward the edge of Greater London and, being less densely populated than more centrally located boroughs, have housing with more outside space.

The three boroughs with the least number of incidents are Islington, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea with only six, five and four garden fire call outs respectively. The housing in these boroughs includes many more flats and, as such, less likely to suffer from outdoor-related fires.

BBQ and outdoor fire safety tips

It’s always a good idea to think carefully about safety if you’re going to have barbecue in your garden, or start an outdoor fire, especially in the hotter, drier summer months, and if you have children around.

The UK fire service recommends a number of ways of keeping safe, including:

  • Keep the barbecue away from sheds, trees and shrubs.
  • Ensure you barbecue on a flat area of outdoor space.
  • Keep kids, pets and any games going on well away.
  • Have a bucket of water or sand within easy reach.
  • Make sure the barbecue has cooled down before moving it.
  • Check gas barbecues are not leaking gas.
  • Turn off gas cylinders before turning off at the controls to use up any residual gas in the pipes.

Additional tips include:

  • Never barbecue indoors or in wooden sheds and other structures such as barns.
  • Don’t leave camp fires and barbecues unattended.
  • Never build a fire where the soil has a high peat content (peat burns slowly and easily).
  • Build fires away from tents and consider wind direction.
  • Clear dry leaves and grass away, and form a circle of earth around the fire.
  • Make sure to extinguish any fires or barbecues before going to bed.

Expert warning

The Head of Operations at Policy Expert, Adam Powell, reminds householders to not only “Keep barbecues away from your home, sheds, trees and garden furniture” but to also “always read the small print of your home insurance policy and check that you are protected in case disaster strikes”.


Policy Expert

If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit for more ways to reach us.


Published 4 May 2017