Organisations in Bournemouth, Poole and the rest of Dorset are asking people not to have BBQs and campfires in areas at high risk of fire.

Why we need to ban BBQs and fires

On 18 May 2020, the Wareham fire destroyed an area the size of 230 football pitches. It's believed to be one of the most devastating forest and heath fires in living memory. The fire is believed to have been started by a discarded disposable BBQ.

The damage meant that:
  • over 430 firefighters worked hard to control the blaze, which burnt for more than 2 weeks
  • it cost over £1 million
  • many wild creatures and important habitats were lost and the recovery effort involved several conservationists
In April 2022, there have been several heath fires. This includes a large devastating fire at Canford Heath, where 20 properties were evacuated. It affected 500 square metres of important heathland.

Wooden tables, areas of parkland and forest areas have also been left scorched by disposable BBQs and campfires. They leave scars on our beautiful landscape and major wildfire risk to people, property, and wildlife.

What we're doing to prevent wildfires

Organisations and businesses are working to help prevent wildfires in Dorset. We have several things in place for 2022.

Enforcing the ban

Our disposable BBQ and campfire policy is in place to ban disposable BBQs and the lighting of campfires at Dorset Council country parks and land that is at high risk of fire.

See areas where BBQs and campfires are banned on our interactive map.

There is signage about the ban at our country parks and countryside sites. The staff will also make you aware when you visit these areas. From July 2022, there will be a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) relating to BBQs and other fire related activities in 3 forestry locations, including Wareham Forest. People who do not comply will be fined.

New road signs in high risk areas

Dorset & Wilthsire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) are putting yellow High Fire Risk road signs along key roads across Dorset when there is a high wildfire risk. Look out for them and support the message.

Read fire safety information from DWFRS:

Education, patrols and signs at heathland areas

Urban Heath Partnership (UHP) is leading the Operation Heathland campaign.

The campaign aims to let people know:
  • the importance of heaths
  • why they are special
  • why we all need to help protect them
Watch their film about the Canford Heath Fire.

Partners and the UHP team have put up 'no fires or BBQs' banners at many heathland areas to share the message around BBQs being illegal on heathlands. Wardens patrol the areas to enforce the ban.

Students at schools near heathlands are:
  • visiting heathlands for a lesson
  • having 'Arson Courtroom Drama’ lessons to learn about fire safety and the importance of the heaths

Firewise community project

The Firewise project works with communities close to heathlands to reduce the risk to their properties. The project gives practical steps to put in place in the area and around their homes and gardens.

If your community would like to become a Firewise community, email

Stopping the sale of disposable BBQs

Litter Free Dorset are encouraging supermarkets to stop selling disposable BBQs this summer. They have had meetings with supermarkets such as Tesco and Co-op. Aldi and Waitrose have already removed disposable BBQs from their stores in Dorset.

They are talking to retailers about having an age restriction on items such as disposable BBQs.

See the latest list of shops removing disposable BBQs.

How you can help

To support this campaign, you can:
  • ask your local shops to support this campaign and give them a ‘We have chosen to remove’ poster for shops
  • put up a 'no BBQs or campfires' sign on your land
  • never light a fire or use a BBQ in areas that are high fire risk or where there are signs saying no BBQs or fires
  • let others know about the ban and wildfire risk if you see them having a BBQ or lighting a fire in a high risk area

Show your support for the ban on BBQs and fires as a business or organisation

If you support the ban on BBQs and campfires in high fire risk areas, add your business or organisation's name to the list of supporters

Supporters of the ban

So far we have the support of the following organisations:
  • The National Trust bans the use of BBQs and fires at Studland Bay
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
  • Swanage Town Council bans the use of BBQs in their parks and beaches
  • Gillingham Town Council bans the use of BBQs in their parks and grounds
  • Bridport Town Council ban the use of BBQs on their land
  • Lytchett Minsters and Upton Town Council ban the use of BBQs on their land
  • Shipton Gorge Parish Council ban the use of BBQs on their land
  • Chickerell Town Council ban the use of BBQs on their land
  • Lytchett Matravers Parish Council ban the use of BBQs on their land
  • Ferndown Town Council ban the use of BBQs on their land
  • Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are supporting the ban across their area
  • Forestry England
  • RSPB
  • Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Visit Dorset
  • New Forest National Parks Authority
  • Lulworth Estate
  • AffPuddle and Turnerpuddle Parish Council
  • Dorchester Town Council
  • Sturminster Newton Parish Council
  • West Moors Town Council
  • Verwood Town Council
  • Bradpole Parish Council
  • Verwood Town Council
  • St Leonards Parish Council
  • Wareham Martin Parish Council

Places where you can have BBQs

Some public areas allow BBQs if used responsibly:
  • Weymouth Town Council parks and beach
  • Lyme Regis beach