Hounslow Council introduces new measures to prevent grass fires

Hounslow Council is taking action to prevent grass fires in the borough's parks and open spaces. The move comes after a series of fires which may have been caused by the hot and dry weather conditions

Published: Thursday, 4th August 2022

photo of the scene of the fire at Hanworth Park
Fire Alarm: Cabinet Member for Parking, Parks and Leisure, Cllr Salman Shaheen surveys the damage at Hanworth Park with Jim Buchan from GreenSpace 360.

Hounslow Council has immediately responded to blazes in Feltham and Hanworth caused by the hot, dry weather by introducing even stronger measures to prevent future grass fires in the borough’s parks.

Park Rangers and other parks workers are mounting extra patrols throughout the parks and are on the lookout for potential fire hazards. Vegetation is being cut back and the existing fire breaks doubled in size and reinforced in key areas.

Council teams will also be conducting more litter picks to collect items that could start a fire, such as glass bottles.

In addition, the Council and its partners are putting up signs in many of the main parks reminding people about the dangers of certain behaviours at a time of heightened fire risk. 

Since the beginning of the week, firefighters have attended two major blazes in the Feltham and Hanworth areas. 

In the latest incident on Tuesday, 2 August, six fire engines and 40 firefighters and council parks services worked for more than three hours to bring a grass fire under control at Hanworth Park. Council officers and team members from GreenSpace 360, are working quickly on the clean-up operation after the fire.

The aftermath saw significant damage to a field within the park. Thanks to the quick action of the partners, it is believed that the plants, trees and wildlife habitats affected will recover. There were no injuries or damage to any properties. An investigation into the cause of the fire is now underway.  

Hounslow Council is urging residents and visitors to continue to respect the ban on barbecues and open fires in the borough’s parks and green spaces. 

Today (Wednesday, 3 August), Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Parking, Parks and Leisure, Councillor Salman Shaheen, visited the scene of the Hanworth Park blaze to assess the damage and discuss the new measures being introduced.

Councillor Shaheen said: “Visiting the scene of the blaze at Hanworth Park today, I could still feel the heat coming off the ashes. That this fire was not significantly worse was thanks to the London Fire Brigade and our own teams for their rapid response. The brave efforts of those involved have undoubtedly prevented more damage to this important green space. I could also see that the fire breaks we had put in place worked to limit the devastation and so we will be reinforcing and expanding our fire breaks in areas of risk across the borough.”

“Fires in Britain’s green spaces will become increasingly common as we feel the impact of climate change, but I want to reassure residents, especially those living close to the parks, that we have x robust measures in place to tackle these incidents and are strengthening them further.”

All the borough’s parks and open spaces undergo a risk assessment as part of the Council’s plan to prevent fires.

Councillor Shaheen added: “The safety of residents and visitors to our parks is our number one priority. We are doing all we can to prevent further fires. Everyone has a part to play in protecting our parks and open spaces. We would urge residents and visitors to our parks to work with us, stick to the rules and keep our parks safe for everyone.”

The advice to the public is clear: 

  • Do not light barbecues or fires in the parks.
  • Do not discard of cigarette butts carelessly, even if you think they are out. 
  • Do not leave litter in our parks - items such as glass bottles can magnify the sun’s rays and cause fires. 

In the event of an emergency, please call 999. For general Parks enquiries or to report non-urgent concerns please report these via Parks@Hounslow.gov.uk

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