Barbecues and tree fires

Barbecues and open fires

Barbecues and open fires are not allowed in Richmond Park as they can damage the grassland and trees, and their wildlife, as well as being a safety risk.

The photograph shows a 700 year old veteran oak, rich in wildlife (breeding birds, roosting bats, butterflies, invertebrates etc) heavily damaged this month by a fire started by a barbecue.

Disposable BBQs are a particular concern as picnickers can readily buy these and bring them to the park on a summer’s day out. Even a slight wind renders a BBQ ineffective, so they end up getting placed at the base of trees.

The Park's veteran trees are very important to wildlife and the country’s heritage. Being hollow and having dead wood through the heart of the tree, they act like a tinder dry chimney that readily ignites and draws any flames through the tree. 

It is difficult for the fire brigade to extinguish flames inside a hollow tree and the Park is scattered with veteran trees that have fire damage or have even been killed by an ill-considered BBQ. 

The Royal Parks will prosecute any offenders and the potential penalty, on conviction, could be up to £20,000 such is the seriousness of the issue.

Please help us to preserve these trees, if you see anyone with a barbecue or an abandoned one smouldering in a tree or on the grass, please phone 999 immediately.