In order to escape the fire many people used boats to travel across the river, to the south of the city, where the fire had not spread.
London, at the time, was not aware of the dangers of fire, with buildings made of timber covered in pitch, and tightly packed together. The upper floors often projected out above the lower floors. This meant that the upper floors would reach the neighbours’ houses, and flames could easily spread from building to building. There were also many warehouses which mainly stored combustible goods, such as oil and tarrow.
A long, dry summer had brought drought to the city. Water was scarce and the wooden houses had dried out making them easy to burn.