Last updated: 19/07/2018, 5:12 PM

Over 220 firefighters tackled Wanstead Flats grass fire

15/07/2018 16:27
Outdoor fire


One fire engine and five firefighters are at the scene of the Wanstead flats grass fire. 

Tuesday 17th lines

Around 70 firefighters were at the scene and continuing to damp down the earth.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Pat Goulbourne said:

"Firefighters continue to work hard in arduous conditions over a wide area to properly damped down the grass fire as it can smoulder and travel across dry ground. We're also working with partners and specialist mechanical vehicles are being used to turn over parts of the land. 

We're pleased that progress has been made which has allowed sections of Centre Road to reopen alleviating some traffic disruptions. There are still road closures and I would also ask that locals don't go down their are the moment to walk dogs or just see how the operation is progressing, the ground is very hot.

"Wanstead Flats is a large area with lots of dry grass and peat. Peat fires are complex because they burn underground and travel before reappearing above the surface somewhere different. Some parts of the incident are tricky to reach which means that it’s more effective to use water back packs and fire beaters and that requires a large number of ‘boots on the ground’.  In short, the more firefighters we have beating the ground, the quicker the area is dampened and quicker we can move our resources away to help ease local congestion."

Previous lines

The large grass fire on Wanstead Flats is still smouldering but over 225 firefighters have beaten down the flames and are now damping down the earth.

At the height of the fire, over 100 hectares of grass was alight and smoke drifted across busy roads, causing local road closures.  

London Fire Brigade Group Manager Rob Davies who was at the scene said:

“This was a large grass fire and while Wanstead flats is an area of grass land, crews had to work very quickly to stop it from spreading. Smoke was making conditions very difficult for firefighters and causing a lot of disruption to local roads.

“Grass fires can embed into the ground and so while it is now smouldering, crews will be there into the night to keep damping down the earth. It can take a long time to properly stamp out a grass fire and while we expect to have crews at the scene for some time, we will reduce the levels of crews and equipment which will also help get roads moving again.

“We have attended over 20 grass fires this month as the hot weather has made the ground especially dry.

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

London Fire Brigade’s 999 control officers received over 110 calls about the fire which was visible for miles.

Wanstead flats is a large area of grass land.

Forty fire engines from stations including Walthamstow, Leytonstone and Hainault fire stations were at the scene.

The Brigade was called at 1605 and the fire was under control by 2135, but firefighters remained at the scene throughout the following two days to extinguish remaining pockets of fire. The cause of the fire is not known.