London fires break out on Britain's hottest day ever, temperature exceeds 40 deg C

People watch as a fire burns during a heatwave, in east London, Britain. PHOTO: REUTERS
A car drives near a fire in Rainham, east London, amid a heatwave across Britain. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Fires broke out across London and the city’s fire service declared a major incident, in the latest sign of how record-breaking heat is causing chaos across the UK.

Two wildfires started in Shirley Hills in South London and there were grass fires in Leytonstone and Upminster in East London.

Firefighters tackled a blaze in a restaurant in Green Lanes in North London, while other incidents were reported in shops and homes.

The Fire Brigade urged people not to have barbecues and to take care to avoid sparks causing fires on tinder-dry ground. It also called for a ban on disposable barbecues.

“The London Fire Brigade has declared a major incident response to a huge increase in fires across the capital today,” Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote on Twitter.

Temperatures in Britain surpassed 40 deg C for the first-time ever, with London one of the areas worst hit.

The heat wave has snarled train and bus services in the city, forced schools to close early and disrupted businesses.

The heat should start to ease later on Tuesday as cooler weather moves in from the west.

The biggest relief should come Wednesday evening when temperatures drop to the low 20s Celsius – around average for the season.

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