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Grass fire warning in Havering as temperatures are set to soar this weekend

PUBLISHED: 13:00 31 May 2019

Last year saw the largest grass fire in London's history take place when 200 firefighters spent four days tackling a blaze across the Wanstead flats. Picture: London Fire Brigade

Last year saw the largest grass fire in London's history take place when 200 firefighters spent four days tackling a blaze across the Wanstead flats. Picture: London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade

Firefighters are warning Havering residents to take care this weekend to avoid a report of last year's spate of 165 grass fires in the borough.

It's set to be a scorcher this weekend with temperatures up to 30 degrees.

Last year there were 165 grass fires in Havering, and 126 in 2017. This year, there have already been 32 grass fires in the borough.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton called for a city-wide grassland barbecue ban during 2018's summer heatwave following a record number of grass fires in London and she said she's happy to be the 'barbecue Grinch' again this year.

Commissioner Cotton said: "We're not trying to spoil people's fun, but lives were put at risk during the heatwave last year by reckless and thoughtless behaviour.

"We are urging Londoners to listen to us this year and think about how their actions could have serious consequences.

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"Grass fires are often avoidable and we just want people to use common sense when they are out enjoying the glorious weather we've been promised.

"Also think about the safety of our crews who last year tackled dozens of unnecessary blazes in sweltering temperatures."

Grass fires in London in 2018 increased by 30pc from the previous year, with firefighters attending a total of 3,160 in the capital.

More than 60 of these were significant - requiring three fire engines or more.

Firefighters are urging people not to barbecue in parks and public spaces, clear away their rubbish - particularly any bottles and broken glass which can magnify the sun and start a fire - and always dispose of smoking materials such as cigarettes and matches safely.

These are all actions which can easily start fires when there hasn't been any rain as the grass will be exceptionally dry and will catch fire more easily.

Commissioner Cotton added: "We're not just giving this advice out for the sake of it - it really is down to members of the public to make a difference.

"One act of thoughtlessness such as dropping a cigarette on dry grass or leaving a barbecue unattended could start a huge fire with devastating consequences."

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