A number of new fire prevention and reaction measures have been put in place after 47 separate wild blazes took hold in Epping Forest between July 15 and October 13 2018.

This summer an unprecedented number of fires burnt through parts of the Essex woodland, with Wanstead Flats providing the location for a dramatic, three day blaze. 

To help fire fighters access sufficient water, fire ponds may be installed at all key grassland and heathland sites to help refill water tanks, the City of London Corporation has announced as part of a string of preventative measures.

A second fire-fogging machine to dampen post-fire patches may be purchased and 23 extra keys to allow fire fighters quick access to forest land have been cut.

A plan has been put in place to remove some of the more combustible scrub elements from the heathland, such as high gorse, which should reduce the intensity of any future burns.

Younger birch and aspen trees will also be removed.

Colin Buttery, the Corporation's director of open spaces, added: "The Fire Brigade pumps loaned to Epping Forest to support IBCs were highly efficient but did not provide water for any substantial period.

"A 1,000 litre IBC could be emptied within 6 minutes. The simple hose-based recharge facility at The Warren estate yard also provided a lengthy delay to refilling the IBCs.

"Discussions are underway with Thames Water to look at options for either pumped supplies or releasing hydrants for more rapid refilling of the IBC facilities."

Beaters positioned around the forest may also be removed. 

Mr Buttery continued: "Beaters may certainly help put out small fires and are useful to those trained in their use for dealing with a situation while they wait for the emergency service.

"However, they could also tempt members of the public to endanger themselves through the ‘heroic’ fighting of fires and often, without the right training, the user can actually make things worse by ‘fanning’ the fire.

"In some instances, fire beaters have even been used to set fires."