Action Demanded to Tackle Horsenden Hill Fire Risk

Concern that summer fires could threaten nearby houses

Firefighters damp down Whittlers' Wood. Picture: David Harvey


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Ealing’s Parks Department is being asked to urgently review its policy on fire prevention after a series of wildfires in the Horsenden Hill area.

David Harvey, Secretary of the North Greenford Residents Association(NGRA), has written to them to raise the concerns of the organisation.

He says that the summit of Horsenden Hill and the lookout point on the golf course, have been plagued for the last 2-3 years with regular summer fires.

The latest incident was on Monday 25 July when at approximately 11.20am the Fire Brigade was called to a fire at Whittlers’ Wood. Fire Engines from Northolt and Wembley attended the incident with access from Whitton Drive.

An area of Whittlers. Wood was burnt and a Fire Brigade officer said that it was very lucky that they had caught the fire early as, given the current dry conditions and wind, the fire could easily have set the “ancient woodland” on fire with the potential threat to nearby houses.

The Fire Brigade on the scene at Whittler's Wood. Picture: David Harvey

An area of Horsenden Wood was replanted in 2017 as a community project with over nine thousand trees. The project involved Ealing Council, Trees for Cities and the local community who voted to name the area “Whittlers’ Wood”.

Mr Harvey adds, “Given Global Warming and the extended period of dry weather, residents with houses backing onto the ancient woodland are now worried that a fire such as the one in the picture (below), or even worse one of the regular summit fires could easily get out of hand, destroy the ancient woodland and possibly threaten the nearby houses.”

Whittlers wood fire

The problem is not purely a natural phenomenon. Vandals have destroyed by fire two legacy benches, a wooden capital ring sign and various areas of fencing. Last year they even dragged up benches from the Ballot Box pub to use as fuel.

On behalf of the NGRA, Mr Harvey is asking the Parks Department what measures the council and rangers are taking to address a potential disaster.

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August 4, 2022

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