Summer wildfires in Northamptonshire increase by 50%

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The number of summer wildfires in Northamptonshire have increased by 50 per cent this year, as the Fire Brigade Union warned its staff are under-funded and ill-equipped to deal with more incidents.

Between May and July, the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service tackled 166 grass and wild fires. This was 50 per cent more than the summertime yearly average from 2014 to 2017, Press Association analysis found, as the summer’s soaring temperatures and weeks without rainfall turned grasslands into tinderboxes.

The figures show July had the highest number of fires in the joint hottest summer on record, according to the Met Office.

Across the UK, the number of grassfires increased by 157 per cent in 2018, with almost 25,000 call outs over the three-month period.

A spokesman for the Fire Brigade Union said: “The growing risk of grass fires represents another strain on the dwindling resources of fire and rescue services, who are currently experiencing severe budget cuts across the country. Fire services do not receive enough funding to respond to an increase on this scale.”