The London Fire Brigade (LFB) declared a “major incident” on July 19 due to a surge in fires across the capital, where temperatures topped 40C (104F) for the first time.
LFB said that declaring a major incident allows firefighters to focus their resources as they battle around 10 separate blazes across London, including a grass fire on Pea Lane in Upminster where 30 fire engines were deployed, amid a record-breaking heatwave.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that the LFB is under “immense pressure” and described the situation as “critical.”
Khan told Sky News that LFB receives 300 to 350 calls for help on a normal day, but it had more than 1,600 calls by late afternoon on what is the United Kingdom’s hottest day on record.
LFB asked people to only call for help “if there is an emergency or if there’s an immediate risk to life and not to have barbecues or bonfires.”
“If you see a fire smoldering, please don’t hesitate to call us. The sooner we know about a fire, the sooner we can bring it under control and prevent it from spreading further, reducing the need for us to mobilize additional resources,” LFB Assistant Commissioner for Operational Resilience and Control Patrick Goulbourne said.
“We are also strongly urging people not to have barbecues or bonfires today, as the ground is incredibly dry, which means even the smallest sparks could cause a fire,” Goulbourne also said.
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