Local park fire by Vivia Shukla, Newstead Wood School

A mysterious fog was spotted by locals in mid September as they went for their evening ramble in Goddington park, Orpington.  

The locals and regular dog walkers were surprised to find the far left of the park completely engulfed by a thick haze. Despite the rather vast area of the park that was being covered, the cause of this strange phenomenon was not immediately obvious.

The smell of the fog revealed its true identity – smoke. A family walking their dog at the time discovered that it was coming from a small area of trees near the centre of the park, and saw through the trees the bright orange flames of a small fire, burning away in its hiding place.

Pankaj Shukla, one of the locals, alerted the police who were nearby, and offered water from his car which they used to put out the fire. “People need to be careful about leaving unattended fires.” he said. “It’s not the first time parks have had this kind of incident… a few months ago in another park, where the fire was more serious, fire personnel even struggled to get the fire hose to douse the fire because they ran short of pipe.” 

The reason why this fire started was never discovered, however it is possible that the fire was left not properly extinguished by another user of the park, and the dry ground may have also played a role. The trees conceal the area inside so people outside cannot see – locals have also seen huge amounts of litter being left in the same place, so it is known for being a discreet area of the park. However, it is urged that people are made aware of being responsible in public spaces, and reminded of the dangers of using fires irresponsibly: they can spread and cause damage to a regularly used outdoor area, and dogs let off-leash in this free space could also be at risk if they went too near it.  

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