Huge grass fire sends smoke over Heathrow Airport causing flight diversions

·2-min read
Smoke could be seen around Heathrow from miles away  ( @jw65922)
Smoke could be seen around Heathrow from miles away ( @jw65922)

A huge wildfire has sent plumes of smoke across a runway at Heathrow Airport causing mass chaos and flight diversions.

An animal sanctuary and a graveyard lie in the path of the grass fire that has ripped through six hectares of grassland throwing thick, black smoke up into the air.

Pilots were affected by the fire and have been asked to land on the northern runway and take off from the southern runway as a result of the poor visibility.

Images on social media show the grassland fire that broke out near Hatton Road in Feltham, a popular plane-spotting area, at 2.50pm on Monday.

Plumes of smoke sent up in the air above Heathrow (@Otapanakara)
Plumes of smoke sent up in the air above Heathrow (@Otapanakara)

Heathrow Noise, an account that manages the runway, tweeted: “Good afternoon, due to smoke from a fire off-airport we will be switching back to landing on the northern runway (27R) and taking off from the southern runway (27L).

“We apologise for the disruption.”

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson urged residents to keep their windows and doors closed as they sent 100 firefighters to tackle the blaze.

The Brigade’s 999 Control Officers have taken more than 30 calls to the fire.

Station Commander Paul Casey, who is at the scene, said: “The fire is producing a large amount of smoke. Residents in the local area, particularly around Bedfont Sports Club, should keep their windows and doors closed.”

The cause of the fire is not known at this time.

Heathrow Airport has been approached for comment.

The Heathrow fire came as 60 firefighters tackled another blaze in four hectares of dry grassland in Leytonstone, east London.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Crews are working incredibly hard to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby properties.

“Although the temperature has dropped, grasslands will still be extremely dry.

“We don’t want people to be complacent and that means avoiding barbecuing in parks and open spaces, ensuring cigarettes are properly disposed of and clearing away rubbish and glass as they can magnify the sun and cause a fire.”

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