A school playing field was swallowed up by a wildfire that charred six hectares of grassland and caused “eye-burning” smoke in south London.
Neighbours fled their smoke-filled homes after the strong winds swept the fire across Norbury wastelands at 12.30pm.
Traffic on the North Circular ground to a standstill after another fire in a Barking park caused smoke to obscure the road.
A hundred firefighters tackled the south London blaze after taking more than a hundred calls to the fire that broke out near Turle Road.
Locals reported that Streatham Common which lies over a mile away from the source of the fire was covered in “eye-burning smoke”.
One said: “The wind was really strong so the flames were spreading fast. We haven’t had substantial rain for a while, everything [went up] like tinder.”
Around 35 houses have been affected by the fire but there are no reports of any injuries.
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Plumes of smoke darkened the London skyline for miles around with 19 residents close to Woodmansterne School told to leave their homes by firefighters.
One told The Standard: “It’s pretty nuts, I’ve been evacuated whilst the fire brigade go through the house. Still not allowed in.”
Others were urged to keep their windows and doors closed as temperatures hit 22C on Sunday.
The London Fire Brigade said around six hectares of wasteland, shrubs and school playing fields caught fire.
The force added cause of the fire is not known at this time but reinforced advice on the safety of barbecues on dry grass.
Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Smith, who was at the scene, said: “Firefighters faced a very intense and serious fire. There is no doubt that the dynamic actions taken by crews immediately on arrival saved more than 40 homes from the blaze.
“Hot and windy conditions made tackling the fire challenging and firefighters worked incredibly hard to save a whole street’s worth of houses.”
It came as a wildfire also broke out in Carlton Hill in central Edinburgh as the United Kingdom sweltered in hot temperatures.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the National Monument and the monument to poet Robert Burns. The Old Royal High School and the City Observatory are also in the vicinity of the inferno.