Hot summer sparks London grass fire warning

grass fire
Image caption Grass fires can pose a major threat to wildlife and parkland

The hot weather has sparked a big increase in grass fires in the capital, London Fire Brigade has said.

Compared to this time last year, grass fires have gone up 25% with barbecues and cigarettes among the causes.

The fires pose a threat to wildlife, parkland and can cause delays to trains if they start on a railway embankment.

Officials have urged people to make sure barbecues are fully put out and that cigarettes should be carefully disposed of as they can easily ignite.

Tinder box

Rita Dexter, London Fire Brigade's deputy commissioner, said: "Grass can go up like a tinder box in these dry conditions, which is why we always see a surge in the number of grass fires in the summer.

"This so called 'smouldering summer' will undoubtedly continue unless people take greater care with things like cigarettes and barbecues".

Dave Ward, route director at Network Rail, added: "With safety being the number one priority we often have to suspend trains services so passengers are not put at risk and to allow the fire brigade to put out the fire safely. "

The brigade added that people should not try to put out grass fires themselves but instead ring the emergency services immediately.

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