EMERGENCY services and the council have issued warnings ahead of the anniversary of the huge cliff fire that was started in a Bournemouth beach hut last summer.

The fire that raged havoc on West Cliff last summer has sparked safety warnings from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and BCP Council urging the public not to use disposable barbecues or naked flames on the beach where possible.

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, portfolio holder for tourism, leisure and culture, said: “The beach hut fire that took place last year was concerning for all involved, however we are pleased to say that no long term damage has affected the cliff side and the flora is greening up nicely.

“This summer we ask that tenants put the appropriate precautions in place when using a heat source in and/or around their beach huts and keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies. We want everyone to enjoy their beach huts but safety must always be the number one priority.”

In the interest of safety the council has called for gas supply to be safely stored and maintained, and fire extinguishers to be kept nearby.

Hannah Tompkins, from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We do see an increase in fires started by disposable barbecues during the summer.

"As a service we don’t encourage the use of disposable barbecues anywhere other than your own garden.”

The fire service urges the public to place barbecues on bricks or paving slabs and ensure cooking stoves or barbecues are away from beach huts and fences.

If you’re using a disposable barbecue ensure it has cooled before putting it in the bin.

To avoid starting a fire you should allow it to cool for several hours and then consider pouring water over it to make sure it’s out.

The fire erupted after Fiona Tew boiled a kettle on the hob of her cabin to treat her young nephew’s suspected weever fish sting.

The flames spread to two huts, completely destroying one, as well as the grassy cliff.

Due to the gorse being tinder-dry and a strong southerly breeze fanning the flames, a huge 100ft long strip of the sloping cliff was set alight.

More than 40 firefighters raced to the scene on Monday, July 20, 2020, and put out the fire in the beach huts while tackling the inferno on the cliff which was billowing black smoke.

They were eventually able to get it under control using water cannons and a cherry picker.

The fire destroyed a 100sq metres area of land, leaving the huts as charred remains.