The Co-op is launching a campaign aimed at promoting safer use of instant barbecues in a bid to prevent fires.
Special messages will be printed reminding customers of the need to extinguish and dispose of the devices properly, with instructions showing that water should be used to safely put them out.
The move follows concerns shared by the National Fire Chiefs Council over the number of instant barbecue-related fires, both in outdoor spaces and in the home when used on balconies or too close to garden fences and trees.
The Co-op said recent examples included fires at Froward Point in Devon, Wareham Forest in Dorset and Darwen Moor in Lancashire, which were all caused by instant barbecues.
Adele Balmforth, Co-op buying director, said: “We’re anticipating high demand for our barbecues from the spring, particularly now as campsites are open and people are able to mingle outdoors.
“Whilst the majority of consumers enjoy instant barbecues safely as a cost-effective way to enjoy outdoor dining during the warmer months, we know that one fire caused by such a barbecue is one too many.”
Paul Hedley, National Fire Chiefs Council lead for wildfires, said: “Adding clear warnings along with simple messaging on how to dispose of these barbecues is an effective way to prevent fires.
“Most people manage to enjoy instant barbecues with no issues but the worrying upward trend in wildfires caused by these devices cannot be ignored and action has to be taken.”
Paul Duggan, area manager and head of prevention at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The memories of the moorland fires in 2018 remain fresh in the mind of everyone involved, from our firefighters who worked incredibly hard to put the fires out, to the residents who were forced from their homes.
“Moorland and wildfires can be started in a number of ways. Sadly, many fires in the countryside are started deliberately, however, some can break out by people being careless with barbecues, campfires or not disposing of cigarettes properly.”