A blaze which tore through 15 gardens and forced 40 people to be evacuated from their homes was caused by a chimenea, firefighters have confirmed.
Seven crews from across Essex were needed to control the flames which began in a back garden and quickly spread, destroying sheds, outbuildings, fences and trees.
The 15 homes were also damaged - with the fire spreading to exterior walls, windows and guttering.
An investigation carried out into the cause of the blaze found it had been started accidentally by a chimenea - a small outdoor stove used for cooking and heating.
Fire chiefs have urged people not to use barbecues, chimeneas, or any other kind of fire, while the ground remains tinder-dry following the recent heatwave.
Another spike in temperatures is due later this week, with the Met Office again issuing an amber heatwave health warning for central and southern regions of England.
Neil Fenwick, Essex Fire and Rescue area manager, said: "While summer weather usually provides the perfect opportunity to host a barbecue or gather around a chimenea in the evening, we’re strongly discouraging people from having any kinds of fires at the moment.
"The ground across Essex is extremely dry, allowing fires to spread easily and quickly. This is true for gardens as well as fields and heathland.
"Please help us to help you. Please don’t have barbecues or bonfires, please don’t use fireworks or set off sky lanterns. Doing so could cause a large-scale fire like the one we’ve seen this evening."
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know