Wildfires rip through the UK amid record-breaking heatwave

ITV News Correspondent John Ray reports on the fires wreaking havoc amid the unprecedented heat

Wildfires have surged across the UK, igniting houses and burning vegetation as temperatures above 40C break national records.

Around 100 firefighters tackled a blaze in the village of Wennington, east London, on Tuesday afternoon, with footage showing black smoke billowing into the air and buildings on fire.

A firefighter at the scene described conditions as "absolute hell", while a resident forced to evacuate her home told ITV News she had no idea whether she would return to find it intact.

Lynn Sabberton was ordered by police officers to leave her home in Wennington after a fire ripped through the village

"It's a very good neighbourhood, a very good community. I feel sorry if [people] have got any young children or babies... it was such a panic," Lynn Sabberton said.

After numerous other "significant" blazes in the capital on Tuesday, London Fire Brigade declared a major incident.

Major incidents requires special arrangements to be implemented by one or more of the emergency services, the NHS or local authorities.

A scorched Wild Ken Hill on Tuesday Credit: @awprco

Another was declared in Yorkshire, where a number of wildfires engulfed houses.

Meanwhile, 90 firefighters tackled a large blaze in Dartford, Kent, while a fire raged through Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk - the site of the BBC's Springwatch programme. The coastal park is home to thousands of species of animal.

Following a day of unprecedented blazes, the prime minister paid tribute to firefighters and other frontline workers.

Sangita Lal reports from Yorkshire, where numerous fires triggered a major incident

Amid an "unprecedented" scale of fires, London Fire Brigade chief Andy Roe wrote to local councils on Tuesday seeking their support for a temporary ban on disposable barbecues in all open spaces.

The Met Police said the spate of wildfires would require "an ongoing presence" through the night.“Officers will also be patrolling open spaces in the coming hours to ensure that Londoners are following the LFB advice to keep us all safe.

“This includes: Do not have a barbecue or bonfire tonight. Do not leave broken bottles or glass on the ground. Dispose of cigarettes safely.”

'I ran as fast as I could with the flames behind me': Wennington resident Steve Rolton on evading a wildfire

Boris Johnson tweeted: “My thanks go to all the firefighters and frontline services who are working incredibly hard to keep us safe on this scorching day.

“I urge everyone to continue to follow the advice from emergency services – including @LondonFire as they respond to incidents.”

Meanwhile, home secretary Priti Patel hailed "the professionalism and skill of our fire services, who are working in difficult conditions to protect lives and communities".

From outside the Met Office headquarters in Exeter, Rupert Evelyn reports on the agency's 'fairly bleak assessment' of the UK's climate

The UK hit its hottest temperature on record on Tuesday, with 40.3C recorded at Coningsby in Lincolnshire, according to provisional Met Office data.

Coningsby reached 40.3C at approximately 4pm on Tuesday, beating the previous record of 38.7C seen at Cambridge Botanic Garden in 2019. It comes as much of England remains under its first ever red extreme heat warning.

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