London Fire Brigade attending nearly 20 grassland blazes a day as temperature soars

·2-min read
Firefighters tackle a recent grass fire (London Fire Brigade)
Firefighters tackle a recent grass fire (London Fire Brigade)

The London Fire Brigade has attended more than 800 open land fires in the six weeks since June as temperatures continue to heat across the capital.

Firefighters have been called to tackle 816 grass and open land fires in six weeks since the start of June up to earlier this week - and equivalent of 19 a day - according to figures provided to the Standard.

These have included blazes on grassland, canals, parks, playgrounds, crops and woodland.

Firefighters warned that there was a very real risk more fires could occur as a result of the heatwave, with the Met Office issuing an unprecedented red alert for extreme heat covering London at the start of next week.

Alongside the open land fires, which include railways and vegetation in private gardens as well as parks, firefighters were called to 25 BBQ fires in the six weeks.

“Barbecuing on dry grass is reckless and can easily cause a really serious fire – damaging the immediate area and risking nearby properties,” said the Brigade’s fire safety lead, Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley.

“We’re also urging people to think twice about having barbecues on balconies. It’s easier than you might think for a balcony fire to spread to others, which could not only leave you homeless but displace hundreds of your neighbours too.

“We’re not trying to take the fun out of the heatwave, but for the sake of our city – and of our firefighters who have to work in sweltering temperatures to tackle these blazes – we’d really like people to take our advice on board.”

Among the incidents of grass fires in the past week alone as London experienced sweltering temperatures were a fire in Harlington where six hectares of grass were alight, and a blaze in a field in Pinner.

Firefighters have also attended 26 reports of a person in water or at immediate risk of entering water in those six weeks.

This included an incident in which a teenage boy lost his life at Fairlop Waters in Ilford earlier this month.

“No matter how hot things get, the Brigade is reminding people to think carefully before diving into water,” said Mr Pugsley.

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