The heat this year in Barking and Dagenham, as well as the United Kingdom as a whole, has been almost unprecedented, with record temperatures of 38 degrees being recorded in some places. However, whilst we are all enjoying this uncharacteristic British Summer, we must equally be aware of the severe dangers to public safety that this heat brings with it. As of July 27th, firefighters had dealt with 43 grass fires, more than six times the amount that they dealt with in the whole of 2017.
In our neighbouring borough of Redbridge, the emergency services had to deal with a grass fire the size of six football pitches, seven engines full of firefighters from across East London, including our own from Barking and Dagenham were called to put out the fire. These are avoidable incidents that could potentially cost lives, and so the following steps should be taken in the heat.
1. Do not create open barbecues or camp fires in green spaces- this is a fineable offence and one of the leading causes of blazes.
2. Do not discard cigarettes or matches on dry grass- dry grass is easily flammable, so please discard responsibly.
3. Glass bottles or broken glass can magnify the sun’s rays and therefore easily start a fire- please put them in the bin and discard of them in the appropriate manner.
4. Educate your children about the dangers or playing with or starting fires, especially in the hot weather- arson is an offence and has been documented as the cause of some recent fires. This not only applies to this summer but is also an important life lesson!
Jon Cruddas MP commented: “I hope everyone is enjoying the sun, but it is important that everyone remembers to enjoy our open spaces responsibly. Fires can cause serious damage and in this weather they can be started all too easily. Littering is a big factor, and I am urging people to think twice before throwing away cigarettes, glass and other waste that can lead to fires in our parks.”