Wednesday evening this week was described as being busier than Bonfire Night for local firefighters. Chiefs at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have called on the public for support and to behave responsibly during the very hot weather. One fire yesterday took over 20 hours to get under control.
Wildfire in Ryton
Their crews were called out to a wildfire at fields in Ryton just after 3pm on Wednesday. The fire had spread over 3.5km and put nearby properties at risk. Firefighters battled the wildfire for over 20 hours.
Six fire appliances, a fire boat and 28 firefighters battled the blaze and two appliances remain on the scene this afternoon to pat down the remaining embers.
Allotment fire at Easington Lane
Yesterday afternoon five more appliances were also called to an allotment fire in Easington Lane that had put nearby properties at risk. More than 20 firefighters battled the blaze for a number of hours before it was eventually brought under control and extinguished.
Wildfire in Witherwack
Another wildfire in Witherwack, and a house fire in Sunderland, meant it was an incredibly busy night for TWFRS control staff and crews. In fact, they received a day’s worth of calls in just three hours and three times the amount of calls compared to the previous week.
A total of 60 fires, including 16 grass fires, were attended by TWFRS on Wednesday – significantly above their daily average.
A call for public support
Today (Thursday 11 August) fire chiefs are reiterating their messages about responsible behaviour in the dry and hot conditions across the region. Deputy Chief Fire Officer Peter Heath has again urged people not to use barbecues in the countryside, avoid setting bonfires and be careful of disposing cigarettes and glass bottles.
“Although temperatures are not expected to reach the levels that we saw last month, the hot weather comes at a time where things are already tinder dry. This presents a serious increase in the chances of fire and rapid fire spread.
“Last night we saw a huge surge in calls and attended incidents where relatively small fires had been exacerbated by the heat and led to a much more challenging response. We want to ask the public to work with us and behave responsibly during the hot weather. It is important to take your rubbish away with you, particularly glass bottles or objects. These can concentrate sunlight and spark fires that put people’s lives at risk.
“Ultimately, the increased risk as a result of the tinder dry conditions, coupled with deliberate fires in bins and public areas, adds a level of risk that is avoidable. With the continued support of local communities, we can keep everyone safe and may just save someone’s property. We also want to issue a timely reminder to behave responsibly around the water and make sure you are aware of some of the dangers that may be hidden beneath the surface.”
An amber weather warning issued by the Met Office is in place in the region until 6pm on Saturday 13 August.
For more information on the weather warnings, visit the Met Office social media accounts.
For Fire Safety and Water Safety advice visit the Safety Advice section of our website. In an emergency, always dial 999.