Emergency Measures Implemented to Prevent Grass Fires

Two major incidents in Hounslow borough prompt response from council

Firefighters damp down a field in the aftermath of fire in Feltham. Picture: London Fire Brigade

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Hounslow Council is urgently implementing a range of measures to prevent further grass fires in the borough after two major incidents.

Fires, stoked by the hot dry weather, have destroyed significant areas of grassland in Feltham and Hanworth this month.

Action to prevent further fires includes extra patrols being made by Park Rangers and other parks workers to look out for potential hot spots and vegetation is being cut back and the existing fire breaks doubled in size and reinforced in key areas.

Council teams will also be conducting more litter picks to collect items that could start a fire, such as glass bottles.

In addition, the Council and its partners are putting up signs in many of the main parks reminding people about the dangers of certain behaviours at a time of heightened fire risk.

Since the beginning of the week, firefighters have attended two major blazes in the Feltham and Hanworth areas.

On Tuesday, 2 August, six fire engines and 40 firefighters and council parks services worked for more than three hours to bring a grass fire under control at Hanworth Park. Council officers and team members from GreenSpace 360, are working quickly on the clean-up operation after the fire.

The aftermath of the fire in a Feltham park
The aftermath of the fire in a Feltham park. Picture: London Fire Brigade

The aftermath saw significant damage to a field within the park but it is believed that the plants, trees and wildlife habitats affected will recover. There were no injuries or damage to any properties. An investigation into the cause of the fire is now underway.

Hounslow Council is urging residents and visitors to continue to respect the ban on barbecues and open fires in the borough’s parks and green spaces. Marks and Spencer has this week announced that it is removing disposable barbeques from sale as these are believed to have been responsible for some of the wildfires that have taken hold across the country.

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Parking, Parks and Leisure, Councillor Salman Shaheen, visited the scene of the Hanworth Park blaze the following day to assess the damage and discuss the new measures being introduced.

Cllr Salman Shaheen, inspects the damage at Hanworth Park with Jim Buchan from GreenSpace 360
Cllr Salman Shaheen, inspects the damage at Hanworth Park with Jim Buchan from GreenSpace 360

Councillor Shaheen said: “Visiting the scene of the blaze at Hanworth Park today, I could still feel the heat coming off the ashes. That this fire was not significantly worse was thanks to the London Fire Brigade and our own teams for their rapid response. The brave efforts of those involved have undoubtedly prevented more damage to this important green space. I could also see that the fire breaks we had put in place worked to limit the devastation and so we will be reinforcing and expanding our fire breaks in areas of risk across the borough.”

“Fires in Britain’s green spaces will become increasingly common as we feel the impact of climate change, but I want to reassure residents, especially those living close to the parks, that we have robust measures in place to tackle these incidents and are strengthening them further.”

The council is advising the public not to light barbeques or fires in local parks or carelessly discard cigarette butts or any other litter particularly glass bottles which can magnify the sun’s rays to start a fire.

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August 5, 2022

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