Fires erupt around London as UK records hottest day ever

The Met Office said at least 34 viewing sites across England had tentatively beaten the previous all-time UK record high of 101.6F, which was set at the Cambridge Botanic Garden on July 25, 2019, late Tuesday afternoon.

He said earlier on his website that the current heat wave was the first time he had forecast temperatures of 104 F.

The record-breaking heat marks “an exceptional historic day, really, for the UK,” Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell told NBC News in a telephone interview. “It will definitely fall into the record books.”

The outbreak of fires in and around the capital comes at a time when once green parks and lawns in parts of the UK now look more like deserts after the ongoing heatwave left lawns parched and yellow .

A “large grassland fire” was raging in Dagenham, east London on Tuesday evening, affecting “a series of buildings and a workshop”, Borough Commander Paul McClenaghan said in a statement. A woman and a man were hospitalized for smoke inhalation in the blaze, the London Fire Brigade said.

Fifteen fire engines and about 100 firefighters battled the flames on Ballards Road, as firefighters prepared to spend the night there.

At Wennington, a village in far east London, 15 fire engines and around 100 firefighters were battling a blaze on green.

Firefighters were also tackling two simultaneous grass fires in Croydon on Oaks Road and Chapel View on Tuesday, the London firefighters said.

The brigade said it also had eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters to tackle a blaze in Wembley, north-west London. “Our control room took over 40 fire calls,” he said, sharing video from the scene, where thick smoke billowed over the businesses.

In New Eltham, an area of ​​southeast London, a building that appeared to have a business on the ground floor and residential space above could be seen burning in a video shared on social media. It was not immediately clear if the fire was heat related.

The Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service also declared a major incident linked to a fire at a farm which spread through a forest on Tuesday afternoon. Area residents were evacuated Tuesday evening and 15 crews from across the county were working to put out the blaze.

London Fire Brigade urged residents avoid barbecuing on the grass or balconies, do not leave broken bottles or glass on the grass as this can cause fires and dispose of cigarettes safely.

Earlier, the brigade said it had called for “an urgent ban on disposable barbecues in parks and public spaces as firefighters continue to feel the effects of unprecedented heatwave temperatures for a second day”. He said he has already witnessed more than 1,000 grass fires since June.

The Met Office had said parts of the UK could experience temperatures above 104F on Tuesday when it issued an extreme heat ‘red’ warning for much of central, northern and south-eastern England. ‘England.

He said parts of the country had “temporarily” experienced Britain’s hottest night on record overnight, as well as the “highest daily minimum temperature”.

“Temperatures did not fall below 25°C (77°F) in places, surpassing the previous highest daily minimum record of 23.9°C (75.02°F), recorded in Brighton on August 3 1990,” he said in a Tweeter.

The Met Office has warned that Tuesday’s extreme heat could lead to “serious illness or life threatening”. As a result, he said “substantial changes in work practices and daily routines will be required”.

In a Twitter statement On Tuesday evening, the London Ambulance Service said it was receiving 400 calls an hour, saying there was sustained demand on its emergency service lines due to the heat wave. He said he was seeing an increase in the number of patients exposed to heat.

A 14-year-old boy is also believed to have drowned in the River Thames in the London Borough of Richmond after he “got into difficulty” in the water on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said.

“Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, we must now conclude with sadness that this young boy has passed away,” Superintendent Richard Smith of the Southwest Command Unit said in a statement. “His death is a tragedy and I can’t begin to imagine what his family will go through. All our thoughts are with them.”

“I know that on days like today, when temperatures reach record highs, it can feel appealing to dive in and cool off in rivers, reservoirs, lakes or other open waters,” he said. he declares. “Please don’t. The dangers are real and tonight in Richmond we saw the terrible consequences of what happens when things go wrong.”

The Met Office also warned of a “high risk of failure” of heat-sensitive systems and equipment, which could lead to localized losses of electricity and other essential services, including water or mobile telephony.

Busy Oxford Circus station in London was evacuated on Tuesday morning following reports of smoke coming from an escalator machine room. Firefighters said the smoke was caused by the escalator’s brake pads overheating.

Network Rail, which runs most of Britain’s rail network, issued a ‘do not travel warning’ for services traveling in the ‘red zone’ on Tuesday. Meanwhile, other train and rail services have been canceled or reduced due to the extreme heat warning.

The rail network also recorded its “hottest rail”, which reached 144 F.

Meanwhile, Avanti West Coast stopped all train service for the rest of the day “due to extreme heat causing multiple network incidents”.

While the UK has experienced hot weather before, scientists said such high temperatures are becoming more common due to climate change propelled by the greenhouse gases humans pump into the atmosphere.

Snell noted that this week’s hot weather came after scientists for decades predicted increased heat waves and other extreme weather due to climate change.

“We can’t tie everything directly to climate change, but what we can probably say is that this heat wave was probably enhanced by climate change,” he said.

Politicians and government advisers have increasingly warned that homes and essential services in the UK must be adapted to prepare for rising temperatures in the years to come.

Swimmers on the beach at Le Moulleau in southwestern France watch smoke rise from a forest fire in La Teste-de-Buch on Monday. Thibaud Moritz / AFP-Getty Images

“The planet is warmer than it has been in 125,000 years. We have 1 degree of warming so far, but I don’t want to be a pessimist, but we are going to have more than 1 degree of warming, that’s the average, and that will mean more extreme heat… and we’re not ready as a country,” Ed Miliband, Britain’s shadow climate change secretary, told Sky News.

In the UK, the ‘shadow cabinet’ is made up of members of the opposition who scrutinize the policies and practices of their respective ministers.

“We’re not ready for that at all,” Miliband said. “Not by far.”

Met Office chief executive Penelope Endersby told ITV News more needs to be done to update the infrastructure for these conditions, including having more cooling centres.

“We need to make short-term changes for things like cooling centers and then longer-term changes, as well as assuming the very good progress we’ve already made as a nation towards net zero,” Endersby said. .

London has cool spaces, meaning indoor and outdoor spaces where city dwellers can find respite from the heat. However, most indoor places to cool off are limited to libraries and community centers.

As the UK grapples with extreme heat and fires, France’s neighboring southwest region of Gironde continued to see wildfires spread to 27,000 acres, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. And in Portugal, where wildfires are also raging, more than 650 people have died amid soaring temperatures.

In Spain, a shocking video emerged this week of a man in the northwestern town of Tábara being forced to jump from an excavator after trying to dig a trench to protect his town from a fire of forest.

As the fire closed in and began to engulf the excavator, Angel Martin Arjona was forced to jump and run for his life, Reuters reported.

Chantal Da Silva reported from London and Marlene Lenthang from New York.

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