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Fire services on high alert as the heatwave causes a rise in grass and crop fires

Some of our fire services are on the highest alert as the heatwave causes a rise in grass and crop fires.

In some parts of our region, the number of call outs has quadrupled, compared to last July.

The British Red Cross has launched two call centres in Norwich and Ipswich to check on the welfare of the elderly and vulnerable in our region.

Click above to see ITV News Anglia's Claire McGlasson reporting on the risks of the July heatwave

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Hertfordshire Fire Service: 'Enjoy the great outdoors but beware of the risks of fire'

Hertfordshire Fire Service safety tips for the heatwave
Hertfordshire Fire Service safety tips for the heatwave Credit: PA Images

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service heatwave safety tips:

1) Never throw the ends out of car windows. After smoking, make sure cigarettes are properly extinguished and thrown away safely.

2) Try to avoid lighting open fires outside wherever possible.

3) Only barbecue in areas where they are allowed.

4) Always take your rubbish with you – especially glass bottles, as these can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires and hurt people and animals.

5) If you must have an open fire, clear dry vegetation and leaves away and build a stack around the flame that will collapse inwards while burning.

6) Never leave a fire unattended and make sure they are always fully extinguished after use.

Heatwave prompts fire safety warnings

More than 25 firefighters were called to this field blaze at Swaffham in Norfolk yesterday afternoon
More than 25 firefighters were called to this field blaze at Swaffham in Norfolk yesterday afternoon

Tinder dry conditions have caused outbreaks of fire across the county. In Hertfordshire the number of grass and crop fires this month is almost four times as many compared to last year.

Fire officers say small fires can soon become large ones, and putting them out is becoming a drain on their fire fighting resources.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service have been called to 111 incidents involving crops, grass and the open countryside since the start of July 2013.

Chief Fire Officer and Director of Community Protection, Roy Wilsher said: "We want people to have a great summer. However, I'd like to remind people to take care and think about fire safety while enjoying the warm weather.

"The ground is currently very dry and, in conditions like this, it doesn't take much to start a fire.

"Every year acres of countryside and wildlife habitats are destroyed by fire and the risk increases considerably during dry weather.

"Although outdoor fires are rarely life-threatening to people, they can cause long-lasting damage to our surroundings and fires of this sort are easily preventable if you take sensible precautions."

Click here to read the Governments Heatwave Plan for 2013

Wildfire warning as temperature rises

Firefighters warn of risk of wildfires in hot weather Credit: ITV News Anglia

Our region's emergency services say the risk of fires in the current hot weather has risen to an "exceptional level".

More than 25 firefighters were called to a field blaze at Swaffham in Norfolk on Wednesday afternoon.

It's thought to have started because of the hot weather.

Norfolk firefighters tackle a countryside wildfire Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Met Office say that rainfall has only been at around 15% of average monthly totals so far.

The country experienced the hottest day of the year so far on Wednesday, with the mercury hitting 32.2C (90F)

The heatwave leads to rise in ambulance calls

It's claimed the heatwave may have killed up to 760 people in England.

In this region temperatures have now remained in the high 20s for the past two weeks.

With the ambulance service in the East reporting a rise in calls and health warnings still in place from the Met Office, the vulnerable, very young and elderly are being advised to take extra care.

Jenny Line reports.

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Another scorcher in the Anglia region

The sun turns a pale shade of pink as it sets behind the countryside near Oundle, Northants, after the hottest day of the year so far. Credit: Paul Marriott Photography

Wednesday was another hot day in the Anglia region with a top temperature equalling that of Tuesday. It reached 29.8°C (85.6°F) at Writtle, Essex on Wednesday and the same temperature at Harpenden, Hertfordshire on Tuesday.

The forecast for Thursday in the East of England is dry with sunny spells developing inland after a rather cloudy and misty start, and becoming very warm again. Much cooler near the coast with perhaps some mist and low cloud lingering at times. Maximum temperature 27°C/81°F

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