A campaign to make the New Forest a disposable BBQ-free zone is gathering steam, with 18 retailers showing their support within the first two weeks of it launching.

Retailers large and small across the New Forest are said to be backing the ban and are also alerting people to the dangers of BBQs with posters and point-of-sale messaging.

Three main villages – Ashurst, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst – are now reportedly disposable BBQ-free.

The #BBQFreeNewForest campaign, supported by Forestry England and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, launched earlier this month following the large number of disposable BBQs being used while the New Forest is at extreme risk of fire.

Multiple fires have had to be put out in recent weeks, and numerous areas of scorched earth have been left across the protected habitats when a fire warning is still in place.

Forestry Journal: A poster for the campaign.A poster for the campaign.

New Forest National Park Authority chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: "Thanks to support from garages and shops the villages of Ashurst, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst are all now disposable BBQ-free.

"Our woods and lowland heathland are of global environmental importance for wildlife and their peaty soils store carbon and help reduce climate change. Wildfires at this time of year would cause immense damage to the ground and the rare flora and fauna. We must protect them from unintentional fires caused by carelessness.

"While we have had some rain, the area remains on a fire alert and with the warm weather set to return, the New Forest will be at an even greater risk of fire. This is why we need your help."

Nicky Watson, company secretary for Castles Home Hardware in Christchurch, said the business was "delighted to support anything that can help stop these awful fires and devastation on the Forest, heathland or coast".

For full information and a list of all stores supporting thecampaign, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/BBQFreeNewForest.

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