Devon and Cornwall on amber wildfire alert as UK bakes in 30C temperatures

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 12:36 pm
Devon and Cornwall Police has said that “most” parts of South West England are on amber wildfire alert (Photo: Getty Images)

Devon and Cornwall have been issued an amber alert for wildfires as the scorching heatwave continues to ravage the UK.

The Met Office has put extreme heat warnings in place for parts of southern England and Northern Ireland, with temperatures expected to reach up to 30C in some areas.

Scorching temperatures for much of UK

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Devon and Cornwall Police has said that “most” parts of South West England are on amber wildfire alert, with people warned to avoid outdoor BBQs and burning debris.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said the peak is expected to be on Friday (23 July), with the Fire Severity Index showing high and very high alerts for the majority of Devon and Cornwall.

Temperatures have already reached record-breaking highs this week, climbing to a sweltering 32.2C in London.

The sizzling heat has caused roads to melt and train lines to buckle, and prompted the Met Office to issue its first-ever extreme heat warning.

An amber extreme heat alert is in place for the South East and South West of England, Wales, the West Midlands and parts of Northern Ireland, with temperatures forecast to climb to a toasty 33C.

In a statement, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said: “Most parts of the south west of England are on an amber wildfire alert.

“The peak is predicted to be on Friday, with the Fire Severity Index as shown in the image set at either high or very high for the majority of Devon and Cornwall. The Initial Spread Index is set to reach 'high danger' conditions.

"Conditions are currently predicted to ease at the weekend with some rainfall in the forecast. Some ignitions are possible, resulting in moderate to high wildfires, particularly in cut grass and crops.

"The daytime winds are variable in both speed and direction rising to around 25 kph from the east on Friday. These could be troublesome if there is an ignition.

"The relative humidity may drop below 50 per cent on occasions. Temperatures are set to remain high but gradually cooling as we approach the weekend. The dead fine fuels will be very dry."

What is the weather forecast for the rest of the week?

An amber extreme heat warning is currently in force for parts of the UK, with temperatures due to reach the high 20s and low 30s Celsius.

The warning will expire for South West England, Wales and parts of southern and central England on Thursday (22 July) evening, but will remain in place in Northern Ireland until Friday (23 July) night.

There is a risk of thundery downpours in central and southern areas up to the weekend and the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for rain from early Saturday (24 July) morning to midnight on Sunday (25 July).

The weekend will bring more unsettled and cooler conditions with heavy thundery showers forecast, particularly on Sunday when these could be widespread and torrential in parts.

It is expected that up to 100mm of rain could build up in some locations, increasing the risk of flooding and travel disruption due to surface water.

Lightning and hail could also affect some areas, with the damp conditions bringing an end to the sweltering weather.

Unsettled conditions will continue into next week, especially across easter parts of the UK, while drier and sunnier climes will be seen towards the west.

Changeable weather is forecast from the end of next week until early August, with a mixture of sunny spells, heavy showers and prolonged rain, although temperatures should remain warm for most.