London Fire Brigade

'Ibiza heatwave' prompts firefighter warnings

06 May 2016

With the capital set to bask in temperatures hotter than Ibiza at the weekend, firefighters have issued safety warnings, amidst concerns over a rise in fires.

Fire chiefs are particularly concerned about grass fires, those started by barbecues and those caused by the sun's rays, which can be refracted through mirrors and glass and cause blazes.

Grass fires in London

Community Safety Group Manager Mark Hazelton said: "Warmer weather usually results in a rise in grass fires, which tend to be caused by people throwing cigarettes down.

"If you smoke, please dispose of your cigarette carefully to prevent grass fires, which can spread very quickly and cause a lot of damage."

With more sunshine hours, comes the increased risk of fires caused by direct sunlight.

Mark said: "Many people don’t realise that fires can be caused by glass, mirrors or crystal ornaments being left in direct sunlight.

"They can refract the sunlight onto other objects and start a blaze. It's a good idea to move glass and other shiny objects away from direct sunlight, such as from windowsills."

In February last year, a home in Twickenham was badly damaged and a dog died after the sun's rays were refracted through a Nutella jar onto window blinds, causing a serious fire.

Barbecue danger

Another cause of fires in the warmer months is barbecues. Mark Hazelton said: "Our other concern is barbecues, which always come out when the temperature rises.

"If you're having a barbecue, light it well away from anything that could catch fire, keep an eye on it and never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony."

Our figures show that in London in the last five years:

  • There have been 259 barbecue fires 
  • 8595 grass fires
  • 117 fires caused by the sun's rays

The figures also showed a increase in the number of grass fires last year of almost 500 on the previous year. Fires caused by the sun's rays rose by one last year.

Keep safe in the sun