London Fire Brigade has declared a major incident, as it battles several simultaneous fires in different areas of the capital.
Shortly after 3pm this afternoon (Tuesday), London Fire Brigade announced the major incident, as its teams battle several 'significant' fires. It asks people to only call if it's a real emergency, due to the pressure it is already under, and to avoid having barbecues or bonfires today.
We have declared a major incident as firefighters battle several significant fires across the capital during today’s record-breaking heatwave. For the latest on those, follow this account @londonfire https://t.co/1ThCGrc33K pic.twitter.com/Tp4J0l2Zkr— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) July 19, 2022
The recent dry and extremely hot weather has resulted in several grass and forest fires. On Tuesday afternoon, there have been such fires in:
- Pea Lane in Upminster: a grass fire which sent smoke billowing over the M25, and halted C2C train services, as the track between Upminster and Ockendon is close to the location of the fire. 30 engines and 175 firefighters were in attendance, with LFB working with Essex Fire and Rescue on that one.
- Croydon: Two separate grass fires in Croydon, at Oaks Road and Chapel View.
- Wennington, near Rainham: What appears to have started on grassland now unfortunately seems to have spread to local houses. LFB had 15 engines and 100 firefighters in attendance.
- Dartford, Kent: A grass fire alongside the A2 on the London-Kent border, with flames seen from the carriageway. Kent Fire and Rescue are dealing with it.
A2 southbound by the M25@LondonFire has declared a 'major incident' as crews tackle multiple fires across Greater London due to the extreme temperatures.#heatwave #Heatwave2022 pic.twitter.com/v034iRxV6e— Shloime Royde (@SZR_London) July 19, 2022
This is in addition to London Fire Brigade's usual workload, such as a shop fire in Eltham, and multiple fires in Wembley, as well as its involvement in water-based incidents as people try to cool off.
The current extreme heatwave comes after London Fire Brigade has tackled more than 1,000 grass fires since June. There are some actions we should all be taking to prevent grass and forest fires from happening, particularly at a time when grass is so dry. These include:
- Avoid having barbecues. LFB is campaigning to ban disposable barbecues in parks and public to minimise the risk. If you do have a barbecue anywhere, ensure that all flames are out and the barbecue is completely cold before disposing of it.
- Dispose of cigarette butts carefully, ensuring they are completely extinguished. Dropping a cigarette or cigarette butt is a form of littering for which you can be find, so don't do it at the best of times. But use your noggin, and don't go chucking it away onto a sun-baked grass area.
- Don't leave glass out in the sun, as this can intensify the sun's rays and cause a fire.
Both Royal Parks and City of London Corporation (which manages Epping Forest and Hampstead Heath) have offered advice in recent days.
Find more updates on the London heatwave over on our live blog.