London declares "major incident" after fires break out during record heat
The London Fire Brigade on Tuesday declared a "major incident" after several fires broke out in the greater London area amid unprecedented high temperatures brought about by a climate-change-induced heat wave.
Driving the news: Multiple homes and buildings were destroyed by a blaze in Wennington, England, while 110 fire engines were responding to at least 10 fires across London on Tuesday afternoon.
- It was unknown exactly how many buildings were destroyed by the blaze in Wennington and the greater London area in general.
- Aerial images and footage showed a grassfire in Wennington spreading toward several buildings, including homes.
What they're saying: London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Tuesday the London Fire Brigade "is under immense pressure" because of the fires and warned people to immediately report fires and not grill outdoors.
- "On a normal day, the fire brigade would receive between 300 and 350 calls for assistance. Today, already, they've received more than 1,600 calls for assistance," Khan told SkyNews.
- "The reason why we've called a major incident is we simply can't cope with the number of fires across our city directly attributable to the heat wave we're experiencing," Khan added.
- London has "probably never seen weather-related incidents, particularly to do with heat, on this scale before," Jonathan Smith, assistant commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, told SkyNews.
The big picture: The fires ignited the same day the U.K. broke its national record for the highest temperature ever registered, with a provisional reading of 104.36°F (40.2°C) at London's Heathrow Airport, Axios' Ivana Saric and Andrew Freedman report.
- The record-breaking temperatures were registered as a heat wave engulfs Western Europe, killing more than 1,700 people in Spain and Portugal and contributing to massive wildfires in southern France and parts of Spain and Portugal.
- The heat has also disrupted transportation across the U.K., forcing operators to close certain railway lines and suspend flights at certain airports because of defects on runways caused by the heat.