STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service are facing extremely high demand as the hot weather continues with yesterday being the Service’s busiest day of the year yet.
Over the weekend, Saturday June 30 and Sunday July 1, Fire Control received the highest number of 999 calls in two years, answering 515 calls over the two days.
This follows on from increased demand June 2018 when the Service responded to 364 secondary fires, compared to 184 in June 2017, and 188 in May 2018.
Over 200 of these incidents involved parkland, heathland/moorland, scrubland, trees/shrubs, wasteland and grassland, and worryingly 252 (69 per cent) of these fires were started deliberately.
Weather experts have revealed that June 2018 was the hottest on record for decades, making conditions rife for fires to start and spread. With the hot weather set to continue, it is likely that firefighters will continue to face high demand throughout July, with 42 secondary fires already reported during the first two days of the month.
Glynn Luznyj, Director of Prevent and Protect, said: “The demand we are experiencing is very intense. I’d like to thank all our firefighters and control staff, who have gone above and beyond, working extra hours to deal with some very challenging incidents.
“Our wholetime firefighters have worked over their duty hours, while our retained firefighters have given additional hours and for this we are very grateful – we are also thankful to their employers who have allowed them to take extra time from their full time work to keep their local communities safe.
“To meet the demand we’ve postponed all planned training exercises, and while our prevention work continues through our Prevent Teams, firefighters aren’t able to support this as they usually would as they are spending all their time responding to incidents.
“With the hot and dry weather set to continue we expect the demand level to remain high so we really need the public to help prevent incidents happening in the first place – it’s appalling that almost 70 per cent of secondary fires in June were started deliberately, this is unacceptable.
“While dealing with deliberate fires we are not able to respond to other incidents, which could put members of the public at risk, not to mention the risk posed to firefighters when tackling these fires. Although we don’t know the cause of the Alton fire at this time, this is a prime example of just how dangerous it is for our firefighters responding to fires in the open. Sadly, a firefighter did sustain an injury whilst working on the uneven terrain which was checked at hospital and he is now recovering at home.”
“Our annual Flames Aren’t Games campaign is set to be renewed ahead of the school holidays so please warn your children about the consequences of setting fires. More information about the campaign can be found on our website at https://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/your-safety/campaigns/flames-arent-games/”