Warning After Blaze Started Deliberately On Wimbledon Common

Rangers urge public to be vigilant during the current hot weather spell

Fire hits Wimbledon Common

Wimbledon Common rangers have been tackling a number of fires on the Commons, including at least one which they believe was started deliberately.

They are urging members of the public to be vigilant during the current spell of hot weather, including not discarding any cigarette butts and not having a barbecue.

They reported that staff had to be called out to an early morning fire at the end of last week, which was smouldering and was caught by the rangers before it had spread too far.

The rangers Tweeted about the fire on @WimbledonCommon: “Evidence indicates it was started deliberately. Police informed. If you see any sign of fire/smoke/BBQ or anyone behaving suspiciously please call us 020 8788 7655.

“With the current hot weather set to continue, the Commons are tinder dry and at risk of fire. Please ensure cigarettes are put out and rubbish disposed of properly. BBQs are not permitted and will be extinguished,” they said.

In a separate incident, one discarded cigarette end caught on the base of a tree and sparked a fire in the trunk (see picture).

Merton Council has also banned barbecues on its parks in the boroughs until further notice. It said: “On the advice of London Fire Brigade, no barbecues are to take place in Merton parks and open spaces until further notice.

“Due to the very hot weather, grass in our parks and green spaces is very dry and across London, firefighters have already attended six times as many large grass fires than the total number attended in 2017. Barbecues are one of the core causes of grass fires along with smouldering cigarettes and glass bottles.

“Fires can spread in short grass as well as long grass, and sparks from barbecues can set dry trees or bushes on fire.”

Rangers work to contain fires on Wimbledon Common

One bonus for dog owners is that the ponds on Wimbledon Common are no longer off limits for their pets. @WimbledonCommon said: “We are lifting the ban on dogs in ponds to allow them to cool off. Please keep dogs to the edge of the water, under control at all times and do not throw sticks or balls out to the middle of ponds whilst there are still young and vulnerable wildfowl about.

London Fire Brigade tips on preventing grass fires:
• Do not use barbecues in parks, grass verges and other public spaces.
• Never barbecues on a balcony.
• Clear away bottles, glasses and any broken glass to avoid them magnifying the sun and starting a fire.
• Dispose of smoking materials such as cigarettes safely.
• Explain to children the dangers of playing with and lighting fires.

August 2, 2018