FIRE chiefs in Warwickshire have thanked staff and county residents for their support during the summer’s unprecedented heatwave.
The past two months have seen soaring temperatures and the driest July recorded since 1885, contributing to a dramatic increase in open fires, forest fires and water rescue incidents.
Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service (WFRS) firefighters, fire control operatives and supporting staff have worked tirelessly to respond to incidents, as well as raising awareness of measures to prevent them from occurring in the first place where possible.
Residents in Warwickshire have also played their part.
In the instance of a fire that was quickly spreading over fields, many local farmers came forward to plough breaks into the field to help prevent the spread of fire and protect wildlife in the hedges.
Local groups, as well as individuals, have also been proactive in sharing and following fire safety messages.
And on-call firefighters have shown complete dedication and commitment to dealing with the increase in incidents, usually alongside another main form of employment, with employers also supporting the cause by allowing them to work flexibly while providing fire cover.
One on-call firefighter recently praised for going ‘above and beyond’ in his response to an incident was Alex Orton, who was mobilised to a forest fire in Atherstone at 9.30am on Saturday August 13. The crew were relieved at 6pm after a challenging day containing the blaze. Alex said:
He said: “I worked with crews from across the county, helping with water supplies, monitoring, and firefighting. I also assisted the farmers with their joint efforts containing and extinguishing the fire, which had spread to a large area of dense forest land.
“This was the type of large-scale ongoing incident that required almost everyone from WFRS and surrounding areas to have some sort of involvement, and it was a great effort from everyone who attended. It was a long day, but we knew we had to pull together and do the best we could.”
Coun Andy Crump, spokesman for WFRS at Warwickshire County Council, offered his thanks.
“I would like to express my gratitude to every individual in the community who has played their part in preventing fires and supporting WFRS over this challenging period of hot weather. I also commend the work of our firefighters, who have been resolute in responding to the many incidents seen over these hot, dry periods.”
And WFRS chief fire officer Ben Brook also offere thanks to everyone who played their part in keeping people safe across the county.
He said: “This includes those who have taken preventative fire safety measures, the employers who have allowed on-call firefighters to respond to incidents during their normal working hours, and those who have supported the efforts of our team when responding to incidents in a variety of ways.
“I would also like to once again thank our firefighters for their amazing work and dedication. It is by continuing to work together that we can protect against the devastating effects of fire in the face of extreme temperatures, which we will likely see escalate further in years to come.”