UK weather: Extreme heat warning in place for England and Wales as nearly 500% increase in wildfires reported – Live | Extreme weather conditions

Nearly 500% increase in fires compared to 2021, according to firefighters

The Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Services say there has been an almost 500 per cent increase in wildfires in the first 10 days of August this year compared to 2021.

Jason Moncrieff, the service’s regional manager, told the BBC’s Today programme:

It’s a huge difference. The first 10 days of August this year compared to last year saw 492% more of these types of fires. So it’s field fires, grass fires, moorland fires – all those sorts of open fires, a 492% increase this year.

He also said a fire on the Studland Peninsula near Purbeck on Friday could have been avoided. He said:

Surprisingly, yesterday’s fire appears to have been started by a disposable barbecue. There can’t be many people in Britain who don’t know that the advice at the moment is don’t bring barbecues, don’t use barbecues, especially disposable barbecues in places like Studland Heath. It’s our message, bring a picnic – don’t bring a barbecue.

It’s under control, it’s in much better shape than yesterday [but] we will probably continue our operations for the rest of the day. How long I can’t really say.

We managed to put in place what we call an onshore pipeline to supply water to the scene of the operation. We are in a much better situation than at the end of yesterday.

Parts of England were declared to be in drought on Friday. My colleague Tom Levitt has taken a look at what this means, and how long it may last.

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The Environment Agency (EA) declared the whole of the UK is in a pre-drought stage earlier in the week. Now that regional droughts are declared we can expect more restrictions on water use by households, and if conditions worsen, on businesses too.

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The decision comes after areas of southern and eastern England recorded less than 10% of average July rainfall, while for England as a whole it was the driest since 1935. The situation has continued into August, with south-east England receiving no rainfall so far this month.

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Dorset and Wiltshire fire service says there has been a near 500% increase in wildfires during the first 10 days of August this year compared with 2021.

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Jason Moncrieff, area manager for the service, told the BBC’s Today programme:

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It is a massive difference. The first 10 days of August this year versus last year there were 492% more of these types of fires. So that’s field fires, grass fires, heathland fires – all those sorts of fires in the open, a 492% increase this year.

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He also said a fire on Friday on the Studland peninsula near Purbeck could have been avoided. He said:

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Amazingly, yesterday’s fire looks as though it was started by a disposable barbecue. There can’t be many people in Britain who don’t know the advice at the moment is not to bring a barbecue, do not use a barbecue, especially disposable barbecues at these places such as Studland Heath. That’s our message, bring a picnic – don’t bring a barbecue.

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It’s under control, it’s a lot better condition than it was yesterday [but] we’re probably going to be carrying on operations throughout the remainder of the day. How much longer I can’t really tell.

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We’ve managed to put in what we call an overland main to provide water to the scene of the operation. We’re in a lot better situation than we were at the end of yesterday.

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Experts have warned of widespread crop failures across England, as charities and farmers criticised water companies for dithering over hosepipe bans despite drought being declared across much of the country.

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On Friday, the Environment Agency classified eight of the 14 areas of England as being in a drought. Despite this, water companies, including Anglian Water, Southern Water and South West Water have not brought in hosepipe bans.

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Leaked documents seen by the Guardian from a meeting of the National Drought Group show concerning figures about the state of farming in England.

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Half of the potato crop is expected to fail as it cannot be irrigated, and even crops that are usually drought-tolerant, such as maize, have been failing.

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The group was told “irrigation options are diminishing with reservoirs being emptied fast”, and losses of 10-50% are expected for crops including carrots, onions, sugar beet, apples and hops. Milk production is also down nationally because of a lack of food for cows, and wildfires are putting large areas of farmland at risk.

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Farmers are deciding whether to drill crops for next year, and there are concerns that many will decide not to, with dire consequences for the 2023 harvest. Cattle and other livestock are expected to be slaughtered early at lower weights because it is likely farmers will run out of feed for them in winter.

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One of the driest areas is East Anglia, which is also home to much of England’s farming, including more than two-thirds of its sugar beet crop and a third of its potato crop.

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The Environment Agency has moved into drought in eight of its 14 areas:

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  • Devon and Cornwall

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  • Solent and South Downs

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  • Kent and south London

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  • Herts and north London

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  • East Anglia

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  • Thames

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  • Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire

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  • East Midlands.

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Documents seen by the Guardian show the Environment Agency expects that a further two areas will move into drought later in August. These are Yorkshire and West Midlands.

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The group met earlier this summer to discuss the lack of rainfall and decided to put the country in “prolonged dry weather status”, the first of four emergency dry weather stages, and one step before drought. Now, the country has been tipped into that second stage.

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This means water rationing may take place across the country, with fewer barriers for water companies who wish to ban customers from using hosepipes and washing the car with tap water. More severe measures can also be put in place at this stage, including banning the use of sprinklers the cleaning of buildings, vehicles and windows.

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Good morning. Drought was officially declared across large parts of England yesterday and the Met Office’s ‘extreme heat’ warning remains in place for much of England and Wales.

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With temperatures expected at around 34C in some parts of the country, the Met Office is warning of an increased risks of fires as well as adverse impacts on health for both vulnerable people and the wider population.

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It adds that “some delays to road, rail and air travel are possible, with potential for welfare issues for those who experience prolonged delays”.

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While the amber heat warning remains in place until the end of Sunday, other parts of the UK could experience intense thunderstorms and possible flooding when it ends.

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The Met office said the yellow storm warnings will begin in Scotland and Northern Ireland on Sunday afternoon and spread to England and Wales on Monday.

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Forecasters said the storms were likely to be isolated and intense bringing 50mm of rain in some places and the possibility of hail and frequent lightning.

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We’ll bring you the latest updates on this story throughout the day.

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Key events

What happens when drought is declared by the UK government?

Parts of England were declared drought on Friday. My colleague Tom Levitt looked at what it means and how long it can last.

The Environment Agency (EA) said the whole of the UK was in a pre-drought phase earlier in the week. Now that regional droughts have been declared, we can expect more restrictions on household water use and, if conditions worsen, on businesses as well.

The decision comes after parts of southern and eastern England recorded less than 10% of July’s average rainfall, while for England as a whole it was the driest since 1935. situation continued into August, with south east England receiving no rain so far. this month.

Fire services in the south of England have been ‘massively stretched’ by this summer’s heatwave.

Jason Moncrieff, regional fire service manager for Dorset and Wiltshire, told the Today programme:

We are massively solicited but we are largely an on-call service. Forty-five of our 50 stations have an on-call element – ​​firefighters who provide cover as well as normal daytime work and they have a massive commitment to service. We also try to use our partners as much as possible.

So in particular, Hampshire, Devon and Somerset – we work in partnership, we can leverage each other’s resources so that we can send the closest resource to whatever county they are in.

Nearly 500% increase in fires compared to 2021, according to firefighters

The Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Services say there has been an almost 500 per cent increase in wildfires in the first 10 days of August this year compared to 2021.

Jason Moncrieff, the service’s regional manager, told the BBC’s Today programme:

It’s a huge difference. The first 10 days of August this year compared to last year saw 492% more of these types of fires. So it’s field fires, grass fires, moorland fires – all those sorts of open fires, a 492% increase this year.

He also said a fire on the Studland Peninsula near Purbeck on Friday could have been avoided. He said:

Surprisingly, yesterday’s fire appears to have been started by a disposable barbecue. There can’t be many people in Britain who don’t know that the advice at the moment is don’t bring barbecues, don’t use barbecues, especially disposable barbecues in places like Studland Heath. It’s our message, bring a picnic – don’t bring a barbecue.

It’s under control, it’s in much better shape than yesterday [but] we will probably continue our operations for the rest of the day. How long I can’t really say.

We managed to put in place what we call an onshore pipeline to supply water to the scene of the operation. We are in a much better situation than at the end of yesterday.

Rachel room

Making small changes, like spotting leaks early and showering less, can make a big difference in saving water during a drought.

After weeks of no rain, the grass is parched, the ground is cracked and drought has been officially declared in eight regions of England.

Water companies are expected to impose restrictions, but what more can individuals do to limit their water consumption?

In which areas are garden hoses currently prohibited?

Map of watering bans in England and Wales

Massive crop failures expected in England

Helen Horton

Experts have warned of widespread crop failures across England, as charities and farmers slam water companies for dithering on hosepipe bans despite drought declared in much of it from the country.

On Friday, the Environment Agency classified eight of England’s 14 regions as being in drought conditions. Despite this, water companies including Anglian Water, Southern Water and South West Water have not banned the use of garden hoses.

Leaked documents seen by the Guardian at a meeting of the National Drought Group show figures on the state of farming in England.

Half of the potato crop is expected to fail because it cannot be irrigated, and even generally drought-tolerant crops like maize have failed.

The group was told that “irrigation options are diminishing with the rapid emptying of reservoirs” and that losses of 10-50% are expected for crops such as carrots, onions, sugar beet, apples and hops. Milk production is also down nationwide due to a lack of feed for cows, and wildfires are putting large areas of farmland at risk.

Farmers decide to sow crops for next year, and some fear many will decide not to, with dire consequences for the 2023 harvest. Cattle and other livestock are expected to be slaughtered early at lower weights because farmers are likely to run out of food for them in winter.

One of the driest regions is East Anglia, which is also home to much of England’s agriculture, including more than two-thirds of its sugar beet crop and one-third of its potato crop.

Drought in England: how the country was affected – video

Which areas are officially experiencing drought?

The Environment Agency has switched to drought in eight of its 14 zones:

Documents seen by the Guardian show the Environment Agency expects two more areas to enter drought conditions later in August. These are Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

The group met in early summer to discuss the lack of rainfall and decided to put the country into a “prolonged dry weather state”, the first of four emergency dry weather stages, and one stage before Drought. Now the country has been swung into this second stage.

This means water rationing can take place across the country, with fewer hurdles for water companies to ban customers from using garden hoses and washing the car with water. tap. Tougher measures can also be put in place at this stage, including prohibiting the use of sprinklers for cleaning buildings, vehicles and windows.

Extreme heat warning in place for England and Wales

Hello. Drought was officially declared across large parts of England yesterday and the Met Office’s ‘extreme heat’ warning remains in place for much of England and Wales.

With temperatures expected around 34C in some parts of the country, the Met Office is warning of an increased risk of fires as well as adverse health effects for vulnerable people and the general population.

It adds that “some delays in road, rail and air transport are possible, with the potential for welfare issues for those experiencing prolonged delays.”

While the orange heat warning remains in place until the end of Sunday, other parts of the UK could experience intense thunderstorms and possible flooding at the end.

The Met office said yellow storm warnings would begin in Scotland and Northern Ireland on Sunday afternoon and spread to England and Wales on Monday.

Forecasters said the thunderstorms would likely be isolated and intense, bringing 50mm of rain to some spots and the possibility of frequent hail and lightning.

We’ll bring you the latest updates on this story throughout the day.

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