12 fire engines on call to blazes in tinder-dry Croydon hills

Croydon on fire: a drone camera captures the blaze in the Addington Hills, just below the viewing point, where more than 60 firefighters were battling to contain the blaze

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.

High risk: the grass fire in South Norwood Country Park on Sunday was quickly brought under control

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.

Lives at risk: 20 people had to be evacuated from their homes when a playing field caught fire in Norbury last month

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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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Addington, Croydon parks, Environment, London Fire Brigade, London-wide issues, Selsdon and Addington Village, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 12 fire engines on call to blazes in tinder-dry Croydon hills

  1. I have no issue with the idea of meadowing pursued by the council, but it should not be an excuse for not bothering to manage the park estate. It has been obvious that many areas have this year become fire risks and measures should have been taken. The more so as people are camping out in Lloyd park and some lighting barbecues. The field adjacent to Oaks Lane looks particularly vulnerable. This year there does not even seem to have been the provision of extra rubbish bins so it is overspilling into the park to join that which is just left – surely it cannot be that difficult to police and issue on the spot fines, it is pretty blatant.

    • Arfur Towcrate says:

      “It has been obvious that many areas have this year become fire risks and measures should have been taken.”

      Measures such as what?

      • Thomas Windsor says:

        Perhaps cutting and collecting the hay! Instead of putting up signs telling people to take their litter home perhaps a few large bins would be a good idea. Perhaps also they could have designated fireproof BBQ places like they have in Switzerland.
        As for the Fire brigade, they could have spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday testing out the fire hydrant water supply on those dry bit of land (soaking them in the process).

        • Arfur Towcrate says:

          There’s no hay to be cut at the Addington Hills viewpoint where the biggest blaze was.

          • Gio69 says:

            To put some cameras at Viewpoint because those criminals who go around to fire up woods will try again and again

  2. Lewis White says:

    I went to Frensham Pond in SW Surrey a few weeks ago–there must have been several hundreds of people there on the “beach”. One council warden. The public information centre shut and delapidated.

    Local government cuts over the last 20 years have reduced the numbers of park keepers and rangers down to nigh-on zero in Croydon.

    Fires highlight the vital nature of public services. When the chips are down, we depend on the courage of fire, police and ambulance. Park staff are also important, in making our public parks and open spaces safe for all.

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