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Stay fire safe as summer heatwave hits

As parts of the county enjoy some of the hottest temperatures in Europe this week, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) would like to remind residents and businesses to keep fire safe during the heatwave.  

Having already seen thermometers reach 30 plus degrees over the weekend, crews were called to several large fires requiring multiple fire engines to attend.  

Head of Fire Prevention for CFRS, Group Commander Rob Olivier, said: “As many people enjoyed the sunshine this weekend, many of our firefighters were called on to assist with large fires involving open, agricultural land. These fires bring particular challenges for us as they spread quickly over vast areas, so not only do they have a significant area to cover, but the water supply is often limited, which is why we need several fire engines to attend for long periods of time.  

“On Sunday for example, crews attended three incidents involving large fires in the open, requiring more than 20 fire engines and specialist appliances (including crews from over borders), totaling more than 100 firefighters for around seven hours.  

“Incidents like this often occur because a combination of high temperatures and dry areas of land are a perfect combination for a fire to spread rapidly. They will quickly escalate requiring our Combined Fire Control to send multiple fire engines.” 

It is not just agricultural fires in the open that can need our crews to attend.  

Group Commander Olivier added: “We urge residents to avoid lighting bonfires and garden fires this time of year, especially when the temperatures are this high. They can quickly get out of hand and spread to nearby buildings, fences and vegetation, which can cause significant damage and put people at risk. 

“We’d also ask parents to speak to their children about the dangers of starting fires, and the serious consequences they can have. 

“We know people will be wanting to make the most of the warm weather, and we really want to encourage people to do this safely and help prevent incidents that could easily be avoided with a few simple tips.” 

There are simple steps we urge residents to take to help prevent an outdoor fire: 

  • Ensure cigarettes are completely out before disposing of them. Do not throw cigarettes out of car windows onto grass verges or vegetation. 
  • Keep BBQs well away from buildings, fencing and vegetation. Put disposable BBQs on bricks, do not place them directly on grass. Ensure any BBQs are completely cool before disposing of the ash. 
  • Avoid having bonfires in these dry conditions, please use local recycling centres to get rid of unwanted rubbish and waste. 
  • If using farming equipment, be sure to keep it well maintained and clean it regularly, especially before use, and don’t allow it to overheat. 
  • Download the free what3words app to help emergency services pinpoint your location quicker in hard to find areas.