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Firefighters tackling 'twice as many grass fires'

Firefighters in London have dealt with twice as many grass fires compared with last year as the heatwave across the UK continues.

Firefighters attending the scene of a fire in London. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

There have been 1,010 incidents so far this summer compared with 535 from May 1 to July 15 last year and more are feared, the London Fire Brigade said.

Dave Brown, London Fire Brigade's head of operations, said: "A small spark from a cigarette is often all it takes to start a grass fire in these dry conditions. It really is important that smokers dispose of their cigarettes properly.

"Drivers also need to take care not to throw cigarettes out of car windows as they can easily burn grass verges.

"If you see a grass fire, don't attempt to put it out yourself as grass fires can be fast-moving and change direction without warning. Call the fire brigade and let us know where the fire is."


60 Firefighters tackle city centre shop blaze

More than 60 firefighters are tackling a blaze at a city centre shop with 12 crews fighting a fire which broke out in Oldham Street, Manchester, at 2.50pm.

Firefighters used a raised platform to douse the flames. Credit: @manchesterfire

Area manager Warren Pickstone said: "Crews are doing their best to fight the fire. They've faced difficult conditions because the fire started in the storeroom of a shop so there's a lot of material burning in there.

"They're working to stop the fire from spreading to other buildings and we're working with GMP (Greater Manchester Police), NWAS (North West Ambulance Service) and other partners to take care of the community and limit the disruption.

"Unfortunately two members of staff were taken to hospital - one with burns, who had tried to fight the fire, and another was suffering from smoke inhalation."

Firefighters battle the blaze. Credit: @manchesterfire
Two staff were taken to hospital Credit: @manchesterfire

Downing Street plays down Chinese lantern 'ban'

Calls by the Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron for a ban on Chinese lanterns have been played down by Downing Street, in the wake of the Smethwick fire.

"The actual number of fires caused by Chinese lanterns is very small," a No 10 spokesman said.

"It is important that we always ensure that there is a proportionate response to any event and we always look at safety matters and make sure they are kept at the top of our concerns."

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Ambulance teams treated 13 people at Smethwick fire

The West Midlands Ambulance team has treated a total of 13 people, including 12 firefighters, at the scene of the recycling plant fire in Smethwick.

Photos of the blaze yesterday taken by viewer Jordan Higgins Credit: Jordan Higgins

In total three people were taken to hospital after more than 50,000 tonnes of recycling material was set alight.

The smoke above the factory blaze yesterday Credit: Jordan Higgins

Briefings are expected to take place today on road closures surrounding the factory.

The wind carries the smoke after Smethwick fire yesterday Credit: Jordan Higgins


Lib Dem president: 'Ban Chinese lanterns'

Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron has repeated calls for a ban on Chinese lanterns following the Smethwick fire.

The Cumbrian MP made calls for the lanterns to be banned in 2012, saying "these lanterns are a spectacular sight to enjoy but many don't realise the harm they can do".

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Smethwick fire: Firefighters making progress

Chinese lantern caused '£6m' worth of damage in blaze

Vijith Randeniya, chief fire officer of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service said a Chinese fire lantern which sparked the fire in Smethwick has caused £6 million worth of damage.

We have a situation where a fire has started here, £6 million-worth of loss, started by one of these lanterns and that was eminently preventable.

We don't want to be party poopers and we know they are used in a lot of celebrations.

– Vijith Randeniya, chief fire officer of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service
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