New ‘great fire of London’ stopped by low winds

Image - great fire of London: Carl Sloan/shutterstock

Image - great fire of London: Carl Sloan/shutterstock

What could have been the new ‘great fire of London’ was stopped by low winds, says fire expert. 

The blaze, which spread in a similar way to the original great fire of London in September 1666, was prevented from becoming even more destructive due to low wind speeds last week.

The fires occurred in Wennington, Uxbridge and Erith last Tuesday, destroying almost 50 properties. They were caused by the UK’s heatwave, in which temperatures rose to 40C in some parts of the country. Fire services were kept occupied due to the high temperatures and had their busiest day since the second world war, as reported by The Guardian

The original great fire of London was exacerbated by strong winds in 1666 and lasted for four days. The flames were quelled only when soldiers blew up houses to create fire breaks and the strong winds calmed down so that the flames were more manageable. 

Guillermo Rein, a professor of fire science at Imperial College London said about the fires, “obviously the London of today is much safer than the London of 1666. But this was an urban fire, where fire spreads from one home to another, aided by vegetation. That’s what happened in 1666. This is what happened today.” 

Rein suggested that if wind speed had been stronger than 14mph last week then the fire could have spread a lot more and the damage could have been a lot worse. 

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Image - Annie Dabb
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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at