An urgent warning has been issued by fire chiefs to Londoners about the heightened risk of grass fires over the weekend. 

Due to continued strike action and the on-going contingency plans in place until Monday, firefighters will not be attending grass fires unless there is a risk to life or property. 

With temperatures expected to soar past 30c today making it is the hottest day of the year, and temperatures remaining in the high 20s over the weekend, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) is advising the public not to flick cigarettes on grass land.  

During a previous heat wave in July 2010 temperatures reached the mid to high 20s and the Brigade was called to 37 grass fires a day.

The public are also being reminded to take extra care if they are planning a barbecue during the hot weather, particularly if it is taking place on open land. 

London fire commissioner Ron Dobson has issued the warning. 

He said: "Grass fires and barbecue fires can easily be prevented if people just take extra care.

"A small spark from a cigarette is often all it takes to start a grass fire in these dry conditions so 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. People barbecuing on open land should also make sure that they extinguish them properly when finished with.

“There is contingency cover during the strike but it isn’t a replacement for a normal service and the contingency crews will not attend a grass fire with no risk to life or property." 

The eight consecutive days of strike action started on Monday was called by the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) as part of an-going dispute with the government over its pension plans. 

Strike action will take place tonight between 11pm and 1am, tomorrow from 11am to 1pm and 11pm to 1am. 

They will strike for two hours from 5pm to 7pm on Sunday and 6am to 8am and 5pm to 7pm on Monday.