Firefighters tackled two massive bushfires on both sides of the capital on Sunday as London enters another heat wave this week.
More than 70 people were evacuated from their homes as firefighters fought the bushfires raging in west and east London at 4.30pm.
Nearly 30 homes were saved after 70 firefighters worked in “hot, harsh conditions” to tame the flames that broke out in Hereford Road, Feltham.
People living miles away in both Uxbridge and Twickenham reported heavy ash falling from the sky.
At the same time, a grass fire broke out in Newbury Park that engulfed approximately 15 acres of farmland. Grazing horses were rescued and a number of farms were evacuated by police
At the source of the Feltham fire, neighbors have recorded dramatic footage of huge flames licking their garden gates before fleeing their homes.
Some locals withdrew to the Railway Club’s social club, which opened its doors for people to take shelter.
Rhys Collison posted a video of the back of his yard going up in flames under the caption “BBQ cancelled”.
He said, “It wasn’t what you wanted on a Sunday.”
Neighbor Avni Dudhia, 32, said: “For about 40 minutes it was just flames and a lot of thick dark smoke.
“Our house is probably about 600 to 700 meters from the fire.
“It was absolutely scary because you could see how fast the fire spread over the trees to the right, so much smoke too.”
Station commander Tamer Ozdemir, who was on the scene, said: “Firefighters worked incredibly hard in hot, harsh conditions to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby properties.
“Their hard work has saved about 30 homes in Hereford Road.
“About 60 residents were evacuated due to the amount of smoke.”
A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said police had received 44 calls to the blaze. They said the cause of the fire is unknown at this time.”
Hounslow City Council praised firefighters for finally controlling the fire. In a statement, they said they were already cutting down vegetation and funding additional patrols from the ranger to prevent further grass fires after Hanworth Park went up in flames on Aug. 2.
Their advice to the public, they say, is clear:
- Do not light barbecues or fires in the parks.
- Don’t throw cigarette butts away carelessly, even if you think they’ve run out.
- Do not leave any rubbish in our parks – objects such as glass bottles can amplify the sun’s rays and cause a fire.
The fire in Newbury Park has blackened large tracts of farmland and horses were rescued by police officers.
There were no reports of injuries.
A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said: “The warmer weather we’ve had is making the ground extremely dry, which unfortunately means grassland, parkland, undergrowth and woodland will burn quickly if exposed to even the smallest sparks.
“We don’t want people to be complacent and that doesn’t mean barbecuing in parks and open spaces, making sure cigarettes are disposed of properly and clearing trash and glass as they can magnify the sun and start a fire.”
It came after three other grass fires destroyed acres of land in Rainham, Upminster and Woolwich last Friday and Saturday.
More bushfires are feared as Britain braces for another heat wave that will last longer than July’s record-breaking hot spell, with temperatures as high as 35C expected next week.
Temperatures will remain lower than last month’s scorching 40.3C in the coming days, but dry weather will continue for a “long period,” the Met Office said.
All of England and Wales are likely to face sunshine and dry conditions over the next week as high pressure builds in the UK.