Disposable BBQ Blamed for Morden Hall Park Fire

National Trust says half of the North Park area was destroyed

The fire ripped through the grass at Morden Hall Park
The fire ripped through the grass at Morden Hall Park. Picture: National Trust Images/Lucia Pedone

New pictures have revealed the damage done to Morden Hall Park after a fire started by a disposable BBQ tore through a huge area on Sunday evening (24 July). The fire blazed for two hours and while nobody was hurt, the National Trust estimates 50 per cent of the North Park was lost.

When images of the black charred grass were shared on social media, many called for the banning of disposable barbecues. And others, including local councillor Jenifer Gould, hope local shops and garages will stop stocking the barbecues following the “awful event”.

In a statement, the park urged people not to use any barbecues as they can “quickly become dangerous”. It tweeted, “We’re incredibly sad to say that there was a fire at Morden Hall Park this weekend, caused by a disposable BBQ. Everyone was safe, but it’s had a devastating effect, obliterating the meadow.”

BBQ tray points to likely source of the blaze. Picture: National Trust Images/Lucia Pedone

Ben McCarthy, head of nature conservation at the National Trust, said the high temperatures mean land has been very dry. He said, “This week’s weather brings into sharp focus the practical challenges of dealing with a warming planet. It’s what the science has been predicting for years and it’s another critical warning of why we can’t afford to delay on climate action any longer.

“We’re asking everyone to take precautions to protect themselves and nature and wildlife. Extreme heat and a lack of rain puts the countryside under severe pressure and swathes of land are incredibly dry. Wildfires have reaped significant damage to National Trust places in the last few years, and whilst our teams are on high alert to any risks, we’re calling on everyone to help by reporting any fires immediately to fire services on 999.”

Across Merton, barbecues and open fires are banned. The authority said in a statement, “Incredibly sad news of a fire in Morden Hall Park this weekend, caused by a disposable BBQ. This is exactly why we do not permit the use of barbecues or open fires in any of our parks and open spaces This protects our parks, woodland, users and local wildlife from fire hazards.”


Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

July 26, 2022