Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Beware of garden weed burners

A fire safety warning has been issued by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service after two fires were started by gas burners used to kill weeds.
Firefighters attended two garden fires in Clacton in the past two weeks caused by weed burners. The first incident happened on Friday 28 April and the second on Tuesday 9 May. Both incidents resulted in fire spreading beyond the intended areas and destroying a shed, fencing and other garden furniture. A man was also treated for smoke inhalation.
Neil Fenwick, Head of Community Safety, said:
“Weed burners are a popular labour saving garden gadgets and an alternative to using chemicals for weed control.
“But as they are powered by gas this item carries some considerable risk. It produces an intense and extremely hot flame that is effective on the weeds but is liable to cause burns if mishandled and has the potential to easily ignite undergrowth around the target area.”
The fire service is urging people to familiarise themselves thoroughly with their safe use and storage.
Neil said: “We would urge extreme caution with such devices at all times. It is important to take extra care not to ignite surrounding dry materials and to ensure that the burner is completely cooled before putting it away.”
Top safety tips for using weed burners:

  • To reduce the risk of fire it is a good idea to use a garden hose or watering can to damp down areas recently treated.
  • Always store cylinders away from heat sources and other combustibles.
  • Be vigilant during use. Only us the burner for their intended use; i.e. weeds only.
  • If the burner does come into direct contact with other items, check for ignition. If in doubt, use a garden hose or other water source to extinguish or ‘damp down’.
  • After use, ensure the gas is fully turned off and the burner is fully cool before replacing in storage. Residual heat may ignite surrounding combustibles and cause a fire.


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