Fire service issues alert after rise in wildfires

Fire chiefs are asking people in Surrey to be "wildfire aware" after an increase in blazes in rural areas.

Between April 2022 and 2023, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service dealt with 553 wildfires in Surrey, and over 13,000 hours were spent attending incidents in the last year alone.

The brigade has urged people to take steps to prevent wildfires by not using BBQs and taking litter home.

It says that the risk of wildfires is increasing due to drier summers, and they are common in Surrey due to the large areas of heathland around towns.

Fire crews were recently joined by 100 residents during ‘Wildfire Awareness Week’, and more events are planned in the summer.

Rural affairs officer, Marli Holland said: “Wildfires are a threat to homes, businesses, and precious habitats, and it takes years for the land to recover.

“Wildfires are easy to start, and spread very quickly, often through BBQs not being extinguished properly, litter left on commons or heaths, or cigarettes being thrown out of cars or left on the ground.”

Fire investigation officer, Matt Oakley, added: “It’s very much an issue that’s here to stay, and we can assure residents we’re fully equipped and prepared to deal with these types of incidents very effectively.”

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