999 Fire Calls Up In Cambridgeshire

21 July 2010, 06:00

The number of 999 calls to Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has almost doubled over the last few days.

Normally, control room operators in Cambridgeshire receive between 30 and 40 emergency calls a day.

On Monday, they got 57.

16 of those calls were received between 5:30pm and 7:00pm.

The majority of these incidents were fires in gardens and open spaces.

It's believed the rapid increase in 999 calls is being caused by the hot and humid weather making the ground extremely dry and flammable.

One fire, in Peterborough, was started by a bonfire which spread to a nearby fence, house and car, however crews managed to put the fire out before any major damage was done.

Because of the spike in incidents, firefighters are reminding people to take care during the warm weather, especially when having barbecues or smoking a cigarette.

Wendy Coleman, Community Safety Officer said: "The high number of incidents on Monday demonstrates the risk of accidental fires during the warm summer months.

All of these fires are preventable, as long as people remain aware of the risks when they are making the most of the warmer weather with bonfires and barbecues.

We don't want to stop people having fun in the warm weather, we are just reminding residents that it is easy to enjoy the sun and stay safe by following our safety advice."

The following advice has been issued by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service:

• Ensure that your barbecue is placed on level ground where it will not tip over, and is sited away from sheds, fences, overhanging foliage and the house.
•Keep children well away from a barbecue and never leave it unattended.
•When cooking is finished, ensure the barbecue is quite cool before attempting to move it.
•Use a proprietary firelighter or starter fuel, NEVER petrol, and use the minimum necessary to start the fire.
•Empty the spent ash onto bare garden soil. Don't put it in the dustbin.
•If you are using a gas barbecue, always follow the manufactures instructions.

Out and about:
•Don't leave camp-fires, barbecues or bonfires unattended and extinguish them properly after use.
•Clear away bottles, glasses and broken glass to avoid them magnifying the sun's rays and starting a fire.
•Parents should explain to their children the dangers of playing with, and the lighting of, fires.
•If a fire breaks out, call the fire service immediately. It can be hard to give a location for an open area, so mention any landmarks, perhaps a church or pub or the nearest road name.
•Don't attempt to fight the fire yourself unless it is very small. Grass and crop fires can travel at tremendous speed and