If you live in the South East of England you can’t have helped but notice that the weather is more akin to that of the Sahara Desert rather than rainy Great Britain. It seems that summer has well and truly arrived and for most, it’s a welcome thing – prompting midweek barbeques and evenings with your feet in the paddling pool watching the World Cup sipping on your favourite botanical Gin and Tonic (that’s not just us, is it?).
With this inclement weather we have witnessed some harrowing incidents involving what can only be described as brush fires in parts of the UK. At the beginning of the month (July) a huge fire at Saddleworth Moor near Manchester blazed for more than a week, as dozens of teams of fire fighters were drafted in to try and bring it under control. Since writing, this fire is now being treated as arson after eye witnesses reported seeing people lighting a bonfire on the moor.
Closer to home, in Little Marlow, a similar sized brush fire ignited and caused huge damage to farm buildings in Pump Lane South. The fire spread to a number of industrial units, destroying fields and crops in its wake. The blaze affected the busy A404 as smoke billowed across making visibility minimal as 30 different fire crews from Bucks, Berks, Oxfordshire and London fought to bring the flames under control.
It is important to recognise that the fire crews fought courageously and were able to control the fire so that all residents living close to the fire on Pump Lane were safe and customers at the nearby Wyevale Garden Centre were evacuated safely.
No sooner had the flames subsided in Marlow than reports of another fire in Holyport, nr Maidenhead, Berkshire were received. While smaller in scale, it is an area densely populated with residential housing and fire fighters were, again able to contain the fire before any residents were affected. It did cause large scale traffic congestion as the village of Holyport acts as an arterial through route to many nearby towns such as Maidenhead, Bracknell and Ascot.
With the absence of ourall too familiar British rain, it is important that we stay vigilante when it comes to fire. Here are a few things to consider if you are out and about in parched areas this summer:
- Avoid using open fires in the countryside
- Do not leave bottles or glass in woodlands, sunlight shining through can ignite nearby brush
- Only use barbecues in suitable and safe areas
- Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly – it only takes one cigarette butt to destroy a whole field of crops
- Never leave a barbeque unattended