Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Firefighters called to double the number of outdoor fires in July 2018

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is issuing important outdoor fire safety advice after prolonged dry, hot weather conditions have lead to an increase in outdoor fires.

Last month (July) firefighters in Essex dealt with 632 outdoor fires. This is an increase of more than 100% compared to just 300 incidents in July 2017.

Head of Community Safety Lee Lucas said: “We have been experiencing scorching temperatures and dry conditions for over a month now and the forecasts looks like it will continue. Even though we had a some rain last weekend, our countryside is still very dry and there is still a high risk of fires.

"We want everyone to have fun and enjoy the weather by going outside, but it is important to stay fire aware when out and about to ensure we can minimalise the fire risk.

“With the forecast set to remain hot and dry for several weeks, we really need people to help us to help them by taking some basic precautions to prevent fires. For example, take rubbish with you if you are out and about in the countryside as glass bottles and cigarette ends can easily start fires.

“We’d also like to encourage people NOT to have garden bonfires until the hot, dry weather has subsided, but if you do insist on having a fire make sure it is sited well away from sheds, buildings and trees and don’t leave it unattended, even for a minute. We attended too many incidents last month where a small garden bonfire spread to the whole garden and caused severe damage."

Following our outdoor fire safety advice to avoid fires:

  • Extinguish cigarettes properly, don't throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows.
  • Take your rubbish with you, especially glass bottles, which can magnify the sun's rays and start a fire
  • Do not have bonfires during hot and dry weather conditions
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately
  • Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as soon as possible
  • Ensure bbq's are fully extinguished before leaving them unattended or throwing away disposable ones.

Read our full Outdoor Fire Safety advice here.

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