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Two separate grass fires in Wanstead Flats destroy three hectares of shrubland

PUBLISHED: 13:46 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:10 11 August 2020

Firefighters battled two grass fires in Wanstead Flats on Monday afternoon and evening. Picture: Rose Stephens

Firefighters battled two grass fires in Wanstead Flats on Monday afternoon and evening. Picture: Rose Stephens

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Two separate fires at Wanstead Flats damaged up to three hectares of grass and shrubland.

There were no reports of any injuries as a result of either fire which took place just hours apart on Monday, August 10.

The first fire took place after 12pm on Centre Road in Wanstead and around 25 firefighters attended which took them more than four hours to get under control.

Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to reports of grass alight on Centre Road in Wanstead in the first fire. Picture: Rose StephensFour fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to reports of grass alight on Centre Road in Wanstead in the first fire. Picture: Rose Stephens

An hour and a half later, just after 6pm, firefighters were called to the scene of a separate grass fire on Capel Road in Manor Park.

The Manor Park fire took out around two hectares of grass and shrubland while the earlier fire destroyed one hectare.

It took more than four hours to get the Centre Road fire under control. Picture: Rose StephensIt took more than four hours to get the Centre Road fire under control. Picture: Rose Stephens

The cause of both fires are under investigation.

Sub Officer Sullivan, who was at the scene of the Manor Park fire, said: “Crews worked incredibly hard in the extremely hot weather to tackle the fire. We see lots of people barbecuing in open spaces when the weather is nice and spending time outdoors which means that sadly, cigarettes will often be discarded on to grass.

Grass fires can travel very quickly and change direction without warning. Picture: Rose StephensGrass fires can travel very quickly and change direction without warning. Picture: Rose Stephens

“The hot days we have been having means the ground is dry and fires can start very easily. Please avoid barbecuing in parks and open spaces and don’t drop cigarettes on to dry ground.”

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Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters attended the scene of the Manor Park fire.

On July 15, 2018 the Flat was the scene of the biggest grass fire in London’s history.

The scene of the Manor Park evening grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture: Clive PowerThe scene of the Manor Park evening grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture: Clive Power

At that time more than 200 firefighters spent four days tackling the huge blaze, which swept across the grassland.

The cause of that blaze has not been determined, though cigarettes, rubbish and barbecues are common causes of grass fires.

The scene of the Manor Park evening grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture: Clive PowerThe scene of the Manor Park evening grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture: Clive Power

The park, which was converted into a temporary morgue at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, was the site of another grass fire on June 25.

That fire took place just one day after a warning from firefighters.

The scene of the Manor Park evening grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture: Clive PowerThe scene of the Manor Park evening grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture: Clive Power

At that time the brigade called on a ban on barbecues, which can easily start fires on dry grass.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Grassland and parks will burn quickly when exposed to even the smallest of sparks.

The scene of the Manor Park evening grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture: Clive PowerThe scene of the Manor Park evening grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture: Clive Power

“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 999 and let us know where the fire is.”


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