UK weather: Met Office warns of fire risk with extreme heat warning in place for England and Wales – live | Extreme weather conditions
Fire services in the south of England have been ‘massively stretched’ by this summer’s heatwave.
Jason Moncrieff, regional fire service manager for Dorset and Wiltshire, told the Today programme:
We are massively solicited but we are largely an on-call service. Forty-five of our 50 stations have an on-call element – firefighters who provide cover as well as normal daytime work and they have a massive commitment to service. We also try to use our partners as much as possible.
So in particular, Hampshire, Devon and Somerset – we work in partnership, we can leverage each other’s resources so that we can send the closest resource to whatever county they are in.
The Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Services say there has been a 500 per cent increase in wildfires in the first 10 days of August this year compared to 2021.
Jason Moncrieff, the service’s regional manager, told the BBC’s Today programme:
It’s a huge difference. The first 10 days of August this year compared to last year saw 492% more of these types of fires. So it’s field fires, grass fires, moorland fires – all those sorts of open fires, a 492% increase this year.
He also said a fire on the Studland Peninsula near Purbeck on Friday could have been avoided. He said:
Surprisingly, yesterday’s fire appears to have been started by a disposable barbecue. There can’t be many people in Britain who don’t know that the advice at the moment is don’t bring barbecues, don’t use barbecues, especially disposable barbecues in places like Studland Heath. It’s our message, bring a picnic – don’t bring a barbecue.
It’s under control, it’s in much better shape than yesterday [but] we will probably continue our operations for the rest of the day. How long I can’t really say.
We managed to put in place what we call an onshore pipeline to supply water to the scene of the operation. We are in a much better situation than at the end of yesterday.
Making small changes, like spotting leaks early and showering less, can make a big difference in saving water during a drought.
After weeks of no rain, the grass is parched, the ground is cracked and drought has been officially declared in eight regions of England.
Water companies are expected to impose restrictions, but what more can individuals do to limit their water consumption?
Experts have warned of widespread crop failures across England, as charities and farmers slam water companies for dithering on hosepipe bans despite drought declared in much of it from the country.
On Friday, the Environment Agency classified eight of England’s 14 regions as being in drought conditions. Despite this, water companies including Anglian Water, Southern Water and South West Water have not banned the use of garden hoses.
Leaked documents seen by the Guardian at a meeting of the National Drought Group show figures on the state of farming in England.
Half of the potato crop is expected to fail because it cannot be irrigated, and even generally drought-tolerant crops like maize have failed.
The group was told that “irrigation options are diminishing with the rapid emptying of reservoirs” and that losses of 10-50% are expected for crops such as carrots, onions, sugar beet, apples and hops. Milk production is also down nationwide due to a lack of feed for cows, and wildfires are putting large areas of farmland at risk.
Farmers decide to sow crops for next year, and some fear many will decide not to, with dire consequences for the 2023 harvest. Cattle and other livestock are expected to be slaughtered early at lower weights because farmers are likely to run out of food for them in winter.
One of the driest regions is East Anglia, which is also home to much of England’s agriculture, including more than two-thirds of its sugar beet crop and one-third of its potato crop.
The Environment Agency has moved to drought in eight of its 14 zones:
Documents seen by the Guardian show the Environment Agency expects two more areas to enter drought conditions later in August. These are Yorkshire and the West Midlands.
The group met in early summer to discuss the lack of rainfall and decided to put the country into a “prolonged dry weather state”, the first of four emergency dry weather stages, and one stage before Drought. Now the country has been swung into this second stage.
This means water rationing can take place across the country, with fewer hurdles for water companies to ban customers from using garden hoses and washing the car with water. tap. Tougher measures can also be put in place at this stage, including banning the use of sprinklers for cleaning buildings, vehicles and windows.
Hello. Drought was officially declared across large parts of England yesterday and the Met Office’s ‘extreme heat’ warning remains in place for much of England and Wales.
With temperatures expected around 34C in some parts of the country, the Met Office is warning of an increased risk of fires as well as adverse health effects for vulnerable people and the general population.
It adds that “some delays in road, rail and air transport are possible, with the potential for welfare issues for those experiencing prolonged delays.”
While the orange heat warning remains in place until the end of Sunday, other parts of the UK could experience intense thunderstorms and possible flooding at the end.
The Met office said yellow storm warnings would begin in Scotland and Northern Ireland on Sunday afternoon and spread to England and Wales on Monday.
Forecasters said the thunderstorms would likely be isolated and intense, bringing 50mm of rain to some spots and the possibility of frequent hail and lightning.
We’ll bring you the latest updates on this story throughout the day.