Undeterred by yesterday’s fire, the boats were back on Hollow Pond today and people were out enjoying themselves in the albeit cloudier weather, but the scenes of devastation made it clear that this was by far the worst fire to have hit this part of the forest for very many years.
Fire damage was not confined to one area but affected parts of the forest near Snaresbrook Road and the former lido, and a much larger area from the main pond past the small pond and down towards Snaresbrook Court (some media reports yesterday described this incorrectly as Wanstead Flats — slightly confusingly this part of the forest is formerly known as Leyton Flats due to it being historically part of the old Borough of Leyton and Leytonstone).
A fire engine is still in attendance in case fires break out again as the ground is still warm and smouldering in some places.
Sadly not everyone was heeding the warning from the City of London Corporation who manage the forest not to have barbecues — which are banned at any time.
The fire also highlighted the growing problem of litter in the forest, which is not just unsightly and a fire hazard but is also a hazard to wildlife.
Ironically the fire also happened in the week when the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, published proposals to reduce London’s fire engines. This site usually tries to avoid political controversy, but yesterday’s fires must surely send a clear message of the need to keep high levels of fire cover in the area and I am sure that I am not the only local resident who wishes to thank the fire service and police for bringing these fires under control so quickly and without even further devastation.
Please share these photos so perhaps in future people will think more carefully before they drop litter, cigarettes or start barbecues, and as the hot weather is due to return next week we won’t see any more of this kind of devastation.
The fires received widespread media coverage. Some of the coverage can be seen here: