Warwickshire firefighters tackled 24 fires in the open during record-breaking heatwave - The Rugby Observer
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12th Aug, 2022

Warwickshire firefighters tackled 24 fires in the open during record-breaking heatwave

‘INCREDIBLE’ firefighters in Warwickshire tackled 24 fires in the open, including two large field fires, as the county reached a new record high temperature of 38ºC during this week’s heatwave.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) used 14 fire engines and 70 firefighters to tackle two large field fires in Kenilworth and Coleshill – and responded to a range of other heatwave-related incidents across the county alongside firefighters from neighbouring West Midlands, Leicestershire and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Services.

The service thanked the Warwickshire community for their practical and virtual support over a busy 72 hours.

Coun Andy Crump, Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) spokesman for Fire and Rescue and Community Safety, said: “Our crews have worked exceptionally hard over the last few days to respond to incidents quickly in what were very challenging conditions.

“I would like to say a massive thank you for the incredible efforts our crews made to protect residents in Warwickshire and our colleagues who looked after the welfare of our firefighters doing their job on the hottest day on record.

“Finally, thank you to everyone else who took extra care during these difficult few days and followed our advice to stay out of open water, not to have campfires, stub out cigarettes thoroughly, not leave litter lying about, and avoiding the use of disposable barbecues near grass, trees, fences, sheds or shrubs.”

A WCC spokesperson said scientific evidence suggested heatwaves like this are set to become more common due to the impact of climate change.

Chief Fire Officer Ben Brook, also the lead officer for Sustainability, Climate Change and the Environment for the National Fire Chief’s Council, said: “This week has shown that our planet is changing and that it has a direct impact on the work that we do and how we do it. Heatwaves like this increase the fire risk overall but especially the likelihood of wildfires alongside water shortages.”

Met Office climate attribution scientist Dr Nikos Christidis said: “Climate change has already influenced the likelihood of temperature extremes in the UK. The chances of seeing 40°C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence.”

The heatwave has coincided with Warwickshire residents and businesses being invited to comment on WFRS’s five-year draft strategy and plans. The plans address the changing demands on the service amid social and environmental change, and with a need to adapt to new and emerging risks.

The consultation runs from 4 July to 25 September. Visit http://ask.warwickshire.gov.uk to take part.

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