Two recent incidents have led to a ban on fires - including disposable barbecues - covering public parks, gardens, beaches and car parks across Bridport and West Bay.

After a long period of dry weather saw two serious fires at Wareham Forest and two further incidents at Asker Meadows in Bridport that were attended by the fire service, Bridport Town Council agreed to ban fires on its land, except where permission is given, at its June meeting

Town council leader Cllr Dave Rickard said: “Our main concern is the irresponsible use of disposable barbecues. We have seen two cases in Bridport recently where they were left unattended and still alight, and had it not been for a swift response from the fire service we could have seen very serious consequences. It is staggering that a minority have played ‘fast and loose’ with public safety and have caused us to have to implement this ban.”

The prohibition is effective immediately and will stay in force indefinitely, although there will be some exceptions.

Town clerk Will Austin said: “Where we’ve already given permission, such as on our allotments or for specific events, this will continue. We’ll look at new requests, but obviously given recent incidents we’ll want absolute assurances about safety.”

The council is also calling on owners of other publicly accessible land in Bridport to consider a ban. Cllr Rickard added: “Dorset Council is considering a similar prohibition on its land but there are large areas of privately-owned land locally that are open to the public and could be vulnerable.” 
Significant areas of open land included in the Town Council ban are Asker Meadows, St Mary’s Playing Fields, Riverside Gardens, Borough Gardens, Harbour Green, Fisherman’s Green and Bridport Football Club Car Park.

Mr Austin said: “We will erect some signs but we won’t be publishing a definitive list of land covered by the ban.  Members of the public should simply assume that the lighting of barbecues and other fires in the area is not allowed.”