‘Demand has gone through the roof’ Norfolk and Rescue see a sharp rise in the number of grass fires

A grass fire in Cromer. Photo: Jack Greenwood

A grass fire in Cromer. Photo: Jack Greenwood - Credit: Archant

The second driest June since 1962 and weeks without any significant rainfall have created the perfect conditions for grass fires.

Three appliances were called to the fire in Great Fransham. Photo: Denise Bradley

Three appliances were called to the fire in Great Fransham. Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

On average Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service receives 300 calls to fires in the open per year but since the beginning of June the service have been called to 250 fires in the open, 50 of which occurred in one weekend.

Speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk on Tuesday, July 17, Scott Norman, from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said: 'Demand has gone through the roof. In regards to field fires, it's extremely busy. The guys are working hard but there are abnormally large numbers of field fires.'

The tinder dry conditions caused by the recent dry spell have put increased demand on services and made the fires more difficult to extinguish.

'Normally we can deal with a field fire with two or three appliances but with some of these fires because they are moving so quickly and because it takes such a long time to get resources to these remote areas we have seen six to eight pumps working all day.'

'Rain would be very helpful there's no doubt about it but we have to deal with the conditions we face and unfortunately we're dealing with a very long dry spell.

Mr Norman explained that the service was relying heavily on its 'on call teams' who had risen to the challenge of the increased demand in recent weeks.

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'The crews are making themselves available, they know there are some hazards in their community and they are staffing the pumps and that has helped with cover. Clearly when you six to eight appliances out of an area you create a gap which you have to fill with other appliances.'

A Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: 'The service continues to work around the clock dealing with these, many of which appear to have been started deliberately or were caused by people being careless and not heeding advice. Particular problem areas include Mousehold Heath and Thetford Forest.'

Norfolk Fire and Rescue service advice to prevent fires in the open is not to light campfires or naked flames and not to discard cigarettes.

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