Several homes have been destroyed in wildfires in parts of London, which have seen extreme heat as temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius for the first time on record.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said firefighters in the British capital yesterday experienced their busiest 24 hours since World War II, which was officially recorded as the hottest day on record for the country at 40 .3 degrees Celsius.
In total, the emergency services responded to 2,600 calls for help linked to the heat wave, which eased somewhat today with stormy showers announced for the capital.
“A number of these fires are grass fires. The problem is that we had no rain for the whole month of July in London,” Mr Khan told the BBC.
“Grass is like hay, which means it’s easier to ignite. Once it spreads, fire spreads incredibly fast like wildfires, as you see in movies or in fires in California and parts of France. My advice today is again not to have barbecues – of course not on balconies, of course not in parks, or in your private garden”, did he declare.
At least 41 homes are believed to have been damaged in the wildfires on the outskirts of London, with London firefighters saying it was a ‘major incident’. Hundreds of people were evacuated and many taken to hospital.
Firefighters were also inundated with calls from other parts of the UK yesterday, with one fire chief calling it a ‘brutal’ day.
“This is a completely and fundamentally different operating environment where fires are burning with such ferocity and spreading with such speed through suburban areas that you can’t stop them,” said Dave Walton, deputy chief of fires. firefighters from the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“We have seen the kind of conditions faced by our international colleagues within a few miles of our capital, and in cities, towns and cities across the country. Today was climate change, the hottest day never registered in the UK,” he said.
“I have been in the fire service for over 30 years now and yesterday was about the busiest I have ever seen in the fire and rescue service in this time. The footage we saw yesterday remind me of what I’ve seen in California, Australia and southern Europe in recent years, and not so much in the UK,” added Mark Hardingham, chairman of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).
Meanwhile, other public services return to normal on Wednesday as many trains were canceled or delayed across England due to damage to overhead wires, tracks and signaling systems. National Rail has urged customers to check before traveling and only travel when absolutely necessary.
A total of six sites, mostly in Greater London, saw temperatures hit or exceed 40C on the UK’s hottest day. Scotland had its hottest day on record, with the temperature hitting 34.8C at Charterhall in the Scottish Borders.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)