UK & World News
Heatwave Warning: Danger Of Grass Fires
More than 120 firefighters have been battling to control grass fires to the east of London.
The fires on Wanstead Flats, which were reported early on Friday afternoon, were tackled by fire crews from Walthamstow, Ilford, Stratford, Homerton, Leyton, and Chingford.
Authorities have warned that a prolonged period of hot weather in England will continue to put a strain on the emergency services over the coming days and asked that the public be aware of fire risks.
London Fire Brigade's Dave Brown said: "A small spark from a cigarette is often all it takes to start a grass fire in these dry conditions.
"It really is important that smokers dispose of their cigarettes properly. Drivers also need to take care not to throw cigarettes out of car windows as they can easily burn grass verges.
"If you see a grass fire, don't attempt to put it out yourself as grass fires can be fast moving and change direction without warning. Call the fire brigade and let us know where the fire is."
As temperatures soar, London's firefighters are dealing with twice as many grass fires compared to last year.
In the first half of July last year there were just five grass fires a day and a total of 535 from May 1 to July 15. This year the figures have soared to 21 fires a day and 1,010 respectively.
Britain will continue to bake in temperatures of 30C (86C) right through into next week, forecasters say.
Six days of 30C-plus temperatures have already been recorded, the longest heatwave for seven years.
The hot weather is expected to continue this weekend and into the early part of next week.
Sky News weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar said: "Western areas will still remain very warm into the weekend, in fact it will feel hot for some with temperatures possibly reaching up to 30C locally.
"There will be a brief respite from the heat in the east with cloudier skies during the mornings and perhaps the cloud lingering into the afternoon.
"But into the start of next week there will be plenty of sunshine across the UK and Ireland and feeling hot again, especially across southern counties where we could see temperatures up to 31C, perhaps a little higher locally."
She warned that the heat and humidity are likely to trigger some thunderstorms in the west.
The prolonged hot spell has prompted the Met Office to issue level three heatwave health warnings for northwest and southwest England, and the West Midlands after a similar alert for London and the South East on Wednesday.
Level three warnings are only one notch below the most serious alerts and are put out when high temperatures place the very young, the very old and those with chronic diseases at risk.
Mountain blazes tore across the south Wales' valleys while flames devastated swathes of Tentsmuir Forest in north east Fife, Scotland, on Thursday night.
There have also been reports of people arriving at hospitals with extreme sunburn, including a four-week-old baby.
The death toll from swimming accidents as people look to cool off has reached 13.
A man and a teenage boy who drowned while swimming at a beauty spot in Norfolk have been named by police.
Ryan Pettengell, 41, and 16-year-old Umar Balogun, died at Bawsey Pits, a disused quarry near King's Lynn, on Tuesday.
Their bodies were recovered from separate lakes following a major search and rescue operation by emergency services after both had separately been reported getting into difficulties in the water.