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Wanstead Flats fire warning for this weekend

PUBLISHED: 13:27 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:33 31 May 2019

Fire crews dampening down a fire on Wanstead Flats. Picture: Ken Mears

Fire crews dampening down a fire on Wanstead Flats. Picture: Ken Mears

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It's set to be a scorcher this weekend as Britain basks in temperatures of up to 30C - but fire-fighters are warning residents to take care to avoid a repeat of last year's spate of grass fires.

Residents should be carefull this weekend while enjoying the weather. Picture: Ken MearsResidents should be carefull this weekend while enjoying the weather. Picture: Ken Mears

In 2018, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) had to deal with 165 incidents in Redbridge - including a two-acre blaze on Wanstead Flats.

Said to be one of London's biggest grass fires since records began, more than 200 fire-fighters spent four days tackling the outbreak in July 2018.

London fire commissioner, Dany Cotton, is urging everyone who is enjoying the weather on Saturday and Sunday to think about how their behaviour could cause a serious fire.

She is urging people not to barbecue in parks and public spaces, clear away their rubbish - particularly any bottles and broken glass which can magnify the sun and start a fire - and always dispose of smoking materials such as cigarettes and matches safely.

"We're not trying to spoil people's fun, but lives were put at risk during the heatwave last year by reckless and thoughtless behaviour," she said.

"We are urging Londoners to listen to us this year and think about how their actions could have serious consequences.

"Grass fires are often avoidable and we just want people to use common sense when they are out enjoying the glorious weather we've been promised.

"Also think about the safety of our crews who last year tackled dozens of unnecessary blazes in sweltering temperatures."

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Last year grass fires in the capital increased by 30per cent on the previous year with, fire-fighters attending 3,160 across London.

More than 60 of these were significant - requiring three fire engines or more - and seven of them were attended by 10 fire engines or more.

Last year, commissioner Cotton wrote to all London Councils requesting a temporary barbecue ban in public parks to try and protect the city's open spaces and vowed to do the same this year if needed.

In the borough there have already been 32 grass fires this year and summer hasn't even began

Commissioner Cotton added: "We're not just giving this advice out for the sake of it - it really is down to members of the public to make a difference.

"One act of thoughtlessness such as dropping a cigarette on dry grass or leaving a barbecue unattended could start a huge fire with devastating consequences."

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