Fire services declared a “major incident” Sunday in London and the surrounding county of Surrey after a number of wildfires broke out.
In London, three areas were affected -- Greenwich, Enfield and Hillingdon. In total, 33 fire engines, 235 firefighters and one fire boat were involved in tackling grassfires that affected a total of 28 hectares (69 acres) of land.
In Kent county south of the capital, a major incident was declared at Hankley Common after a large open fire began to spread. The blaze also resulted in large quantities of smoke drifting into populated areas of the region, threatening to affect its residents.
“London Fire Brigade is dealing with a number of weather related fires across the capital. We're tackling significant incidents in #Enfield, #Hayes and #Thamesmead. Between midnight and 1700 we've attended more incidents than we would in a normal 24 hour period,” the brigade said on Twitter.
The Surrey Fire and Rescue Service posted a similar statement on its Twitter handle.
“We have declared a major incident at Hankley Common due to a large fire in the open. We have several fire engines in attendance. There is a great deal of smoke so please avoid the area, windows and doors should be closed if nearby and pets kept indoors. More info to follow.”
Pictures posted on social media showed plumes of smoke rising over affected areas in London and Kent, with many people in surrounding areas reportedly being able to view the smoke. The Surrey Fire Brigade requested people to stop dialing the emergency number 999 after a large number of calls had been made in connection with the blaze.
The London Fire Brigade and its Surrey counterpart, however, have brought the blazes under control but will remain onsite under caution. Hot weather has resulted in the drying out of vegetation which makes it susceptible to wildfires. Strong wind gusts also help strengthen the fires and aid their spread.
Last week, a number of wildfires broke out across the UK after temperatures reached a record 40.3C (104.5F). The fires damaged large areas of land as well as property, with homes and business being burnt to the ground.