UK – Parts of West Yorkshire are at risk of destructive wildfires similar to those which have hit Greater Manchester, fire chiefs have warned.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) said fire crews have had to deal with an “unprecedented” number of grass fires in recent days.
In the four days since last Thursday firefighters have attended 678 incidents in total of which 438 were fires in the open – largely grass and rubbish fires.
On Thursday alone firefighters were called to 99 such fires across West Yorkshire.
Meanwhile specialist wildfire units from West Yorkshire are still helping tackle the Saddleworth Moor fire across the border.
Yesterday (Monday) crews were called to numerous such incidents, including a large blaze in Bank Walk, Baildon where two fire engines attended.
Chris Kirby, area manager for service delivery, said: “We have all seen the destructive nature of wildfires from the images of Saddleworth Moor and we do not want to see something of that scale happening in West Yorkshire.
“Right now that is not unimaginable.
“We have now had such a long period of sustained sunshine that the vegetation is tinder dry and will burn very rapidly should it come into contact with a heat source such as for example a barbecue.
“Fires like these are not only labour intensive to fight but they also have the potential to spread and pose a risk to property and people.
“The fire severity index is an assessment of how severe a fire could become if one were to start. This is currently mapped at ‘very high’ for England and Wales.
“We cannot stress our fire warning strongly enough and we do need the general public to be more vigilant and take extra care when enjoying the moorlands or in the countryside.
“Small embers or sparks from barbecues, or even carelessly discarded cigarettes, can be all it takes to start a small fire which can very quickly become a large fire and the consequences could be devastating.”