Norfolk heatwave blazes overtake total for 2017

Image source, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption,
Firefighters worked to put out a one-tonne hay bale fire in Thrandeston, near Diss, last week

A fire service has dealt with more open fires in the last two months than it attended during the whole of last year.

Norfolk firefighters have put out 452 open-air blazes during the heatwave, compared to 366 in 2017.

Despite recent downpours, the rain has failed to much improve the tinderbox conditions across the county, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said.

Garry Collins, from the brigade, urged people to give them a "fighting chance" and be mindful of their actions.

Mr Collins, head of fire prevention and protection, said the onslaught of blazes in remote places like heaths and farmland had put the service and its 51 engines under pressure.

"The reality is we have called up every fire appliance we have got across the county," he said.

Image source, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption,
Norfolk firefighters assisted their colleagues in Suffolk in tackling a blaze at Elvedon, near Thetford, on 25 July

"Half of these fires are deliberate and reckless and are preventable, so please don't throw your cigarette out of the window when driving and don't leave your litter.

"A bit of vigilance will give us a fighting chance.

"Although a lot of these fires are remote, they can spread to properties."

Blazes like the recent wildfire outbreak on Cromer Cliffs are often labour-intensive because of limited water supplies and the fact they are difficult to get to, he said.

It has meant retained fire staff have been pulled from their normal jobs to help.

"They have stayed at incidents over and above the average duration," said Mr Collins.

"That has had an impact - a lot of them actually haven't been to their primary employer, so a big thank you!"

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