As Britain bakes in the driest July on record, firefighters were called to tackle a dramatic nighttime fire that tore through a field near Leeds on Thursday.
Drone footage showed firemen in the sinister red-hued fields as the flames tore parallel lines through the maize and the blue fire engines’ sirens gleamed in the darkness.
Around 9.30 p.m., numerous West Yorkshire fire departments and more than 40 fire personnel arrived at the burning cornfield on Spitalgap Lane in Pontefract and engaged in a long-lasting struggle.
By Friday morning, the fire had been put out without any reports of injuries or property damage.
After surpassing the UK’s all-time heat record for July on July 19, when the temperature reached 40 degrees, the heatwave has dried out England’s fields and parks, creating the perfect environment for wildfires to grow.
On the hottest day on record, fires ravaged London and the surrounding suburbs, destroying at least 19 homes in the Essex village of Wennington.
With 1,146 incidents, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) reported that it was its busiest day since the Second World War.
Due to gusts, extremely high temperatures, and bone-dry conditions, many fires begin as grass fires and quickly advance to residential areas.
England and Wales have already had 442 wildfires this year, compared to just 247 for the entire year of 2021.
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) attributed this in part to climate-related causes and stated that “services need to recognise the risk they’ve now acquired” in an interview with the BBC.
If they don’t, he declared, “they are naive.” There are some very urban agencies that believe wildfires are not a major issue. I am aware that resources must be prioritized, but a reassessment is required.
The London Fire Brigade’s chief, Andy Roe, described the city’s fires last month as “unprecedented,” adding, “As a London fireman, I witnessed something last week that I had not expected to see.”
In contrast to East Anglia, which received 5.4mm on average last month, the south-east and central southern regions of England experienced only 5.0mm.
It was the driest July on record for both regions since the Met Office started keeping data in 1836, some 200 years ago.
In light of the ongoing dry period, a second hosepipe ban that may affect millions of additional households was put into action by Isle of Wight South East Water in Kent and Sussex, Welsh Water in Pembrokeshire, and Hampshire.
A week before South East Water restrictions for Kent and Sussex, which affect 2.2 million people, commence, Southern Water started its “temporary consumption ban” yesterday.
Since last Friday, there has been a ban on the 85,000 inhabitants of the Isle of Man.
Welsh Water has already imposed limitations beginning on August 19 for 200,000 consumers in Pembrokeshire and a small portion of Carmarthenshire, blaming the driest weather since the 1976 drought.
And with temperatures expected to rise beyond 100F (38C) for the second time in less than a month next week, Britons are ready for another heatwave. A scorching weekend is also expected, with temperatures expected to reach 27C.
The South and South West of England are experiencing an area of high pressure that is spreading from the Atlantic, according to the Met Office, which forecasts temperatures to reach the “low or even mid-30s” (mid-90s) by the end of next week.
The Met Office acknowledged that while records are not anticipated to be broken again and the temperature is not forecast to reach the same heights as in July, there may still be many days with extremely high temperatures.