THE HOTTEST DAY: Fire Brigade gets wildfires at Addington Hills and Chapel View under control as London declares a major incident
More than 100 firefighters were this afternoon battling to stop two potentially devastating grass fires spreading in the Addington Hills and in Selsdon.
The fires in the Croydon hills were just two of seven in the capital and on the hottest day ever recorded which, with temperatures reaching 40C and higher for the first time, saw a major incident declared.
The fires in the hills to the south of the borough are just the latest of more than a thousand grass blazes that the London Fire Brigade has been called to in the past six weeks, since the start of the long, dry summer.
According to LFB, today eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters were dealing with a fire in woodlands in the Addington Hills, close to the viewing point.
“Crews are continuing to work to bring the blazes under control. Please avoid the area,” the Fire Brigade tweeted in early afternoon.
Another four fire engines were also called out to deal with a grass fire on Chapel View, Selsdon, where 2 acres of woodland and undergrowth is alight.
The Fire Brigade said that the fire in the Addington Hills, near Oaks Road, affected 2.5 acres of woodland, but that crews from Addington, Biggin Hill, Wallington, Croydon “and surrounding fire stations attended” had the situation under control by 2.20pm.
Fire crews from Purley, Plumstead, Greenwich and Lambeth had been called to Chapel View and they had stopped that blaze by 2.30pm.
There were no reports of any injuries at either scene, the Brigade said.
The Fire Brigade dealt with a smaller scale grass fire in South Norwood Country Park at the weekend, while at the end of June, around 35 homes were under threat, with nearly 20 residents needing to be evacuated as a precaution, when a grass fire caught hold across 17 acres of wasteland, shrubs and playing fields near Turle Road in Norbury.
In the latter case, the police and LFB were treating the fire as having been started deliberately.
In the past six weeks, LFB figures show that 70 grass fires occurred in parks, most believed to have been caused by barbecues, even though barbecues are banned in all but six public parks in the capital.
Today, a London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “The recent hot, dry weather has made the ground extremely dry, which unfortunately means grassland and parks will burn quickly when exposed to even the smallest of sparks.
“Common causes of grass fires include carelessly discarded cigarettes or matches as well as rubbish left lying around such as glass bottles, which can start flames by magnifying the sun’s rays.
“Every one of us can help reduce the risk of fire and keep our communities clean, make sure rubbish is safely thrown away and cigarettes are always properly disposed of.
“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. If you see signs of smouldering grass then call the Brigade and let us know where the fire is.”
*Updated at 5.30pm to take in LFB’s revised report on the status of the Croydon fires
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