Wanstead Flats Fire: Huge Grassland Blaze In East London Tackled By More Than 200 Firefighters

Graeme Demianyk
Images from a police helicopter showing smoke rising from the scorched Wanstead Flats in east London.

More than 225 firefighters have been tackling a large grass fire in east London, which has led to huge plumes of smoke being seen across the capital.

London Fire Brigade sent 40 fire engines to the blaze, on Wanstead Flats near Stratford, just after 4pm after receiving more than 110 calls.

Police warned people to avoid the area in Epping Forest due to “very heavy smoke” coming from the “tinder-dry” grasslands.

The fire service said there was no immediate risk to life or property from the blaze despite around 100 hectares of grass - or one square kilometre - being alight.

The fire was still smouldering overnight after firefighters had beaten down the flames and damped down the earth.

Images posted on social media show big orange flames and thick plumes of grey smoke that were visible for miles around as smoke drifted across busy roads, causing closures. 

London Fire Brigade’s group manager Rob Davies, who is at the scene, said: “This was a large grass fire and while Wanstead flats is an area of grass land, crews had to work very quickly to stop it from spreading.

“Smoke was making conditions very difficult for firefighters and causing a lot of disruption to local roads.

“Grass fires can embed into the ground and so while it is now smouldering, crews will be there into the night to keep damping down the earth.

“It can take a long time to properly stamp out a grass fire and while we expect to have crews at the scene for some time, we will reduce the levels of crews and equipment which will also help get roads moving again.

“We have attended over 20 grass fires this month as the hot weather has made the ground especially dry.

“If you see a grass fire, don’t attempt to put it out yourself as grass fires can travel very quickly and change direction without warning. Call the fire brigade and let us know where the fire is.”

Images from a police helicopter showed smoke rising from the scorched field.

Metropolitan Police from a ward neighbouring the fire tweeted: “Very large fire on the tinder-dry #WansteadFlats. Very heavy smoke will affect roads in the area.”