London Fire Brigade

Brigade concerned as grass fires double

17 July 2013

Firefighters are dealing with twice as many grass fires in London compared with last year and are warning that they could rise further unless people act responsibly.

In the first half of  July last year there were just 5 grass fires a day and a total of 535  from the 1 May to the 15 July but this year the figures have soared to 21 a day this July and 1010 incidents so far this summer.

Fire chiefs are predicting a busy week of grass fires as temperatures remain in the high 80s. The Brigade are asking the public to be vigilant as the school holidays and picnic season get into full swing.

The London Fire Brigade’s Head of Operations, Prevention and Response, Dave Brown said:

“A small spark from a cigarette is often all it takes to start a grass fire in these dry conditions. It really is important that smokers dispose of their cigarettes properly. Drivers also need to take care not to throw cigarettes out of car windows as they can easily burn grass verges.

“If you see a grass fire, don't attempt to put it out yourself as grass fires can be fast moving and change direction without warning. Call the fire brigade and let us know where the fire is.”

The Brigade’s top tips on preventing grass fires are as follows:

• Never leave camp fires or barbecues unattended and extinguish them properly after you have finished using them. 

• Clear away bottles, glasses and any broken glass to avoid them magnifying the sun and starting a fire.

• Dispose of smoking materials such as cigarettes safely.

• Explain to children the dangers of playing with and lighting fires.