Warning ahead of summer as data reveals how busy firefighters in Northamptonshire were during 2022 heatwave
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Last summer was a busy time for firefighters in Northamptonshire, as record temperatures sparked a wave of fires across the country.
That period coincides with last year's summer heatwave, when a record-breaking 40.2C was recorded at Pitsford climate station on July 19.
The figures show an 83 percent increase on the same period in 2021, when the fire service was called to 470 fires.
At the time, Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey praised crews who attended six times more calls than usual on the hottest day.
He said last summer: "There were lots of small fires, large field fires, house fires and road traffic collisions all going on at the same time.
"It's only the second time I can remember that we paged all our on-call firefighters — around 190 people — to come in and attend stations so that we had an immediate response across the county.
"I've never known a day like it in my career where every fire service in the country was really, really stretched.”
On an average day NFRS attends 12 incidents. In a 24-hour period from 6am on July 19, 2022 it had 71 incidents logged.
Many of the calls involved bonfires getting out of control and the service also tweeted warnings last night after lit Chinese lanterns were spotted being released in Earls Barton.
Looking ahead to summer 2023, the Government has been warned more extreme weather linked to climate change will mean more fire risks to the public, and faces calls for more investment from the firefighters' union.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union also warned climate change means fire services need to do more to prepare for future extreme weather, and the impact it has on firefighters.
He said: "The Government has turned a blind eye to the obvious: the climate emergency means record breaking heatwaves. Rising temperatures mean an increase in dangerous fires. More fires mean more pressure on firefighters and our fire service.
"The fire and rescue service must urgently plan for this coming summer and for the future. This must involve properly funding and resourcing our service for the years to come.
"Politicians and chief fire officers have ignored years of warnings. Now they must act."
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Government is committed to ensuring fire services have the resources they need to keep us safe, including from wildfires, and, overall, fire and rescue authorities received around £2.5 billion in 2022-23.
“The Home Office maintains regular engagement with national bodies including the National Fire Chiefs Council and England and Wales Wildfire Forum to monitor and review sector led improvements to wildfire response and mitigation.”
Of the 859 fires in Northamptonshire in 2022, 286 of them were so-called 'primary fires'.
These are fires which occur in a non-derelict building, vehicle or outdoor structure or involved a fatality, casualty or rescue or were attended by five or more pumping appliances.
This was a nine percent increase on the same period in 2021, when there were 262 primary fires.