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  • Sajda Jaward

UK cities warned of wildfire risk

Picture Credit:Malachi Brooks

Firefighters experienced their busiest days as temperatures in England reached record breaking highs, and as flames broke out in the tinder-dry conditions which were declared in London, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, and South Yorkshire.

According to BBC, following the spread of many grass fires to surrounding structures, more than 40 homes and businesses were destroyed. The National Fire Chiefs Council reports, that there have already been approximately 500 wildfires in England and Wales this year alone, compared with 237 last year.

According to a report for the government's Third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment published last year, two out of eight fire services in the south east of England, which has been identified as a key region under increasing threat from extreme temperatures, failed to mention wildfires in their Integrated Risk Management Plans. Currently, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire services only make fleeting mentions of wildfires in their IRMPs, while London Fire Brigade and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service make no mention of them.

All of the fire services claimed that they adhered to federal regulations and made an effort to increase local knowledge of the risk of wildfires. South Wales Fire Service is regarded as a pioneer in terms of how it manages wildfires. In this year alone, flames have scorched 5,500 hectares of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the fires that are occurring currently are similar to those that occurred in Spain in the 1980s and 1990s.

The BBC visited the Malvern Hills, to observe the kind of competence being built by rural fire departments working with landowners. The Malvern Hills Trust's chief executive, Duncan Bridges, collaborates with the Hereford and Worcester Fire Service to map the locations of neighborhood access points and to comprehend how wind and fire are likely to move through a land.

The Home Office underlined the steps for close coordination to facilitate an effective response to wildfire incidents which were specified in a plan for England that was released in December. In its national climate adaptation plan, Defra has included that the government is committed to ensure that, fire services have the resources that they need to protect individuals from wildfires. In addition, it is also mentioned that, overall fire and rescue authorities will receive £2.5bn in 2022/23 to mitigate the risks that are caused by wild fires.

The public also could assess the threat in various areas and take the necessary precautions to avoid fires starting by educating on the main causes of wildfires and avoiding high-risk areas like grassland with common ignition sources like cigarettes, barbecues, fireworks, or sky lanterns.

Picture Credit:Encyclopedia Britannica Website

August 2nd 2022| 07:30 PM

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