‘CARELESS and naïve’ parkgoers have caused a string of fires at a Bromsgrove beauty spot during the soaring temperatures of the past few days by recklessly discarding disposable barbecues.

Staff at Lickey Hills Country Park say there have been eight fires in the Warren Lane woodlands over the past week – and pointed the finger at irresponsible barbecue users.

Emergency services confirmed they had been called to a number of blazes at the park and appealed for people to keep their barbecues for domestic use only.

“Fire crews have attended several fires in the area that were results of careless and naïve actions, people leaving disposable BBQs to smoulder away in fields,” said a Bromsgrove police spokesperson.

“Please think of the consequences.”

That message was echoed by Station Commander Deb Davies of Bromsgrove Fire Station.

“We know that people have been longing for the relaxing of lockdown measures so that they can enjoy the summer weather and beautiful area,” she said.

“But we would urge them to behave responsibly and not use barbecues or light fires when they go out into the Lickey Hills.

“The right place for a barbecue is at home where you can take the correct safety measures and where there is no risk of causing harm to the environment and endanger vulnerable wildlife

“At the moment, ground conditions are very dry, so there is a much increased danger of fire spread.

"We would appeal to people to be especially careful and take all of their litter home with them as glass and cans can also reflect the sunlight and cause fires.”

The recent sunny spell of weather, combined with the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, has resulted in parkgoers flooding back to the Lickey Hills in droves.

A Lickey Hills Country Park spokesperson said: “We have had eight fires on site in the last seven days.

“When the Fire Service came to put out three on Saturday, caused by disposable barbecues, they found a total of 12 barbecues.

“Please, in this hot weather, don’t have barbecues or fires in our parks.”

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said the park had become a ‘hot-spot’ for fires in recent days and confirmed several call-outs to the Lickey Hills Visitor Centre and general vicinity.

One particular fire, on Monument Lane, included ‘a number of barbecues’ while the largest blaze, last Friday afternoon, needed three fire engines to extinguish 100 square metres of undergrowth.

While not all of the fires were necessarily caused by barbecues, a senior firefighter has warned of the dangers of using such appliances near scrub land, particularly in hot weather.

Group Commander Mick Cadman from HWFRS’s Community Risk Department said: "The most common problem we come across is barbecues being sited too close to fences and trees which can very easily catch alight.”

Councillor Peter McDonald, meanwhile, said he was concerned that people descending on the Beacon car park and parking in the road were blocking off Monument Lane to emergency vehicles.

He added: “People in their eagerness to get out had little regard for others and the consequences of their actions in blocking the road off.

“The police will have to monitor our country parks to ensure people do not park in such a manner that could mean life or death to those needing emergency services.”