If you’re camping in the New Forest this Easter, remember to use your barbecue safely.

As the camping season gets under way, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Safer New Forest Partnership is reminding visitors about the potentially life-threatening dangers of barbecues.

  • Barbecues, whether gas or charcoal, should only ever be used outdoors and never taken into an enclosed space, such as a tent or caravan.
  • Even when extinguished, barbecues can give off colourless and odourless carbon monoxide fumes, which can be deadly.
  • Campers should ensure their barbecue is fully extinguished and is kept well away from any sleeping accommodation. Only approved heating sources should be used inside tents and caravans.
  • Only use barbecues at designated campsites. Wild camping is not allowed in the forest.
  • Look out for signs warning of high fire risk, barbecues should not be used in these areas.
  • Disposable barbecues may be used at New Forest sites where special plates are provided and raised non-disposable barbecues may be used at specified car parks. Static barbecue hearths are provided for pre-arranged hire at Wilverley and Anderwood car parks by the Forestry Commission www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest and at Lepe Country Park www.hants.gov.uk/lepe
  • Always make sure you have sufficient water to fully extinguish your barbecue after use and take all your waste home.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager Steve Quinn hopes the safety message will help to save lives in the future.

He said: “To prevent an increased risk of fire, barbecues should be used outdoors with care and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

“In rural areas, they should always be off the ground and never left unattended. Approved fuel and firelighters should only ever be used, never petrol or paraffin.”

Cllr Jill Cleary, New Forest District Council portfolio holder for housing and communities, said: “We welcome visitors to the New Forest but please heed this crucial message about leaving your barbecues outside tents and caravans on campsites – and help prevent further loss of life.”