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Wanstead Flats fire: Community rallies together in support of those evacuated from homes and firefighters

PUBLISHED: 18:44 16 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:53 16 July 2018

Firefighters tackle a wildfire in Wanstead Flats on July 15 2018, London's

Firefighters tackle a wildfire in Wanstead Flats on July 15 2018, London's "biggest ever grass fire". Photo: Helen Mathias / EyeContact Photography

HelenMathias-EyeContact Photography

The community has rallied together after a wildfire engulfed the grasslands of Wanstead Flats yesterday (July 15) - the biggest grass fire in London’s history.

LFB were called to reports of a grass fire in Wanstead Flats at 4.05pm yesterday (July 15), receiving more than 100 calls - many from Lakehouse Road and Centre Road.

At the height of the fire, more than 100 hectares of grass was alight and smoke drifted across busy roads, which was visible for miles, causing local road closures.

This is roughly the same size as 100 football pitches.

More than 225 firefighters were called to the scene and 40 fire engines attended from stations including Walthamstow, Leytonstone and Hainault.

“It was really alarming,” said Wanstead Village cllr Jo Blackman, who lives besides the flats.

“The police told us that we had to have an evacuation strategy and get a bag ready.”

She added: “There were people evacuated from the Lake House estate where it started.

She spoke of how firefighters battled to contain the blaze which spread dangerously close to the Esso petrol station in Aldersbrook Road.

Firefighters tackle a wildfire in Wanstead Flats on July 15 2018, London's Firefighters tackle a wildfire in Wanstead Flats on July 15 2018, London's "biggest ever grass fire". Photo: Helen Mathias / EyeContact Photography

She added: “Lots of people are offering to take in families that were evacuated.

“It’s really nice to see the community come together.”

Wanstead MP John Cryer took to Twitter to thank firefighters for their efforts.

He said: “Big thanks to all the police & firefighters who came out to Wanstead Flats fire.

“Show why we need a properly resourced fire service.

“No more cuts to public service.

“FBU has always said, cuts cost lives.”

The Salvation Army also sent their London-based emergency response vehicles to supply the firefighters with cold drinks and snacks as they tackled the blaze.

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation, which manages Wanstead Flats said: “We would like to thank both the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and the Metropolitan Police for their support in dealing with this terrible blaze.

“At present, we do not know the cause of the fire and we are working with the authorities to investigate.

“A considerable area of the Flats has been affected.

“As a heathland Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the vegetation is very resilient and we expect the habitat to begin recovering with the damper autumn weather.

“Visitors should continue follow advice from LFB and avoid the area whilst consolidation activity continues to dampen down the area and make the site safe.”

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