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More than 200 firefighters battle raging grass fire in Wanstead Flats

PUBLISHED: 08:06 16 July 2018

More than 220 firefighters tackled the grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture:@mo_afghan\Mohammad Hassanzai

More than 220 firefighters tackled the grass fire in Wanstead Flats. Picture:@mo_afghan\Mohammad Hassanzai

@mo_afghan\Mohammad Hassanzai

Hundreds of firefighters battled a large blaze in the grasslands of Wanstead Flats.

London Fire Brigade were called to the first of more than 100 reports of a grass fire in Wanstead Flats just after 4pm yesterday (Sunday), having received many calls from Lakehouse Road and Centre Road.

The fire is still smouldering but firefighters have beaten down the flames and are now damping down the earth, according to the Brigade.

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

Flames crackled through dense vegetation turned into a potent fuel from prolonged hot and dry weather, footage captured by Azma Arif shows.

Smoke from the Wanstead Flats grass fire could be seen for miles. Picture: @London_w4Smoke from the Wanstead Flats grass fire could be seen for miles. Picture: @London_w4

The cause of the fire is not known.

More than 220 firefighters were called to the scene and 40 fire engines attended from stations including Walthamstow, Leytonstone and Hainault.

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.

Smoke from the Wanstead Flats grass fire could be seen for miles. Picture: @London_w4Smoke from the Wanstead Flats grass fire could be seen for miles. Picture: @London_w4

“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.”

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