Merseyside fire chief warning as region hit by ‘more and more’ grass and wildfires

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service crews had to tackle multiple blazes - some caused by arson - during the recent heatwaves.

This summer has seen the highest temperatures on record, with Liverpool reaching an all time high of 35.5°C in July.

Amber and red weather warnings have been in place from the Met Office, with risks of fires and danger to life due to extreme heat.

This weekend, the UK faced yet another heatwave, with Merseyside matching Barcelona’s temperature of 32°C on Saturday.

With soaring temperatures comes increased fire risk, specifically the spread of wildfires or grassfires.

Mark Thomas, area manager for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, told BBC Merseyside: “This weekend we attended higher than normal amount of grass fires, gorse fires and the like”

“Hot summers are nothing new to us but we do seem to be attending more and more of these types of fires.

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“Grass fires are really dangerous and I don’t think anyone should underestimate how risky they can be.”

Other parts of the country have seen their Fire Services struggle due to droughts.

Mark added: “We’re very lucky to have a lot of water around - rivers lakes, canals etcetera.”

The heatwave is coming to an end today, with thunderstorms expected and temperatures dropping from 32°C to 23°C across Merseyside.

However, MFRS urges the public to be considerate and remain aware of increased fire risk during hot temperatures.

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The fire chief highlighted that many wildfires, such as a blaze in West Kirby last Tuesday are due to arson, but that both arson and accidental fires spread much faster during heatwaves.

He advised: “If you really need to use a portable barbecue then make sure you have the means to control the flames.

“Even leaving a glass bottle in the heat can cause a signifcant blaze so be considerate.”