Norfolk residents urged to protect themselves from fires during heatwave

06:00 July 12, 2022

People are urged not to light barbecues, bonfires and campfires on dry grass or in the woods, as the hot, dry weather means the risk of wildfires is “extremely high “.

The Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service issued the warning on Monday amid this week’s heat wave, prompting the UK Health Safety Agency to raise an earlier health warning to level three.

It comes after crews responded to 39 fires over the weekend, including 12 open fires.

A rare orange weather alert has been issued by the Met Office for extreme heat at the weekend which could be life threatening.

Although not certain, forecast models have predicted that temperatures in parts of Norfolk could reach highs of 40C.

Tony White, fire and rescue service prevention manager, urges the public to be safe and follow “good outdoor fire safety practices” to help prevent fires from spreading in the first place.

Tony White, prevention manager at the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
– Credit: Norfolk County Council

He said while crews have been busy responding to incidents, they are “always well-staffed” and ready to respond to calls when needed.

But he asked that precautions be taken to avoid incidents, such as ensuring barbecue sites are flat and away from fences, trees, shrubs and sheds, keeping a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergency, never leaving a barbecue. unattended and ensuring ashes are cool before disposal.

“Please dispose of your little one responsibly,” Mr White added.

“Forest fires can be accidentally caused by something as simple as throwing a cigarette out of a car window or leaving a glass bottle on the ground.

“Unfortunately, some fires are set deliberately and this not only puts the lives of firefighters at risk, but also the lives of everyone in the local community.

Dry tinder on Mousehold Heath during the July heatwave

Dry tinder on Mousehold Heath during the July heatwave
– Credit: Sonya Duncan

“Everyone is asked to be alert to anyone deliberately starting a fire. Any suspicious behavior should be reported to the police immediately.”

Mr White also called on people to act responsibly if they are near water and on those holidaying in Norfolk to think about fire safety.

He said: “Swimming in a river, lake or the ocean is different from swimming in a pool – you need more energy to deal with currents and changing conditions and there can be dangers submerged.

“Never swim in a disused quarry – the water may look inviting, but the water is very cold and sudden exposure could send your body into shock, significantly reducing your ability to swim.”

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