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Wildfires break out across England as record heatwave rages

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Multiple fires have broken out across the south of England as an intense heatwave takes over the UK.

Parts of London, Kent and Cornwall have all seen wildfires erupt at as temperatures reach record highs of 40C in parts of the country.

Fire services have urged people to take precautions and discard of rubbish such as cigarettes, matches and glass bottles which can quickly set alight and cause widespread damage.

Flames and large plumes of smoke were seen rising over Shirley Hills in Croydon, south London where the fire brigade were called at around 12.07pm to the blaze on Oaks Road.

Four fire engines as well as around 25 firemen and women are currently tackling the blaze in one of the largest parks in south London, which consists mainly of wood and heathlands.

In Zennor, near St Ives, firefighters are battling a large gorse fire which first began last night (July 18) and was worsened by winds.

The fire could be seen from miles away and Cornwall residents report smelling the fumes from the blaze from afar. One nearby resident said on Twitter: “No more billowing smoke and can see the fields again. Wind has died down but the sun is back and getting hotter.”

Flames and plumes of smoke can be seen arising from the Shirley Hills fire

(BBC News)

In Kent, 12 fire engines are in attendance at a blaze in Dartford and Kent Fire and Rescue Service and urging people driving on the A2 and nearby roads to take care due to smoke coming from the incident, which may impact visibility.

Regarding the causes of such blazes, a London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “The recent hot, dry weather has made the ground extremely dry, which unfortunately means grassland and parks will burn quickly when exposed to even the smallest of sparks.

“Common causes of grass fires include carelessly discarded cigarettes or matches as well as rubbish left lying around such as glass bottles, which can start flames by magnifying the sun’s rays.

Firefighters in Cornwall attend the blaze in Zennor

(REUTERS)

“Every one of us can help reduce the risk of fire and keep our communities clean, make sure rubbish is safely thrown away and cigarettes are always properly disposed of.

“If you see a grass fire, don’t attempt to put it out yourself as grass fires can travel very quickly and change direction without warning. If you see signs of smouldering grass then call the Brigade and let us know where the fire is.”

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