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Hot dry summer leads to increase in wildfires in Dorset
12:50pm Tuesday 10th September 2013 in News
A COST of the hottest and driest summer for seven years has been a disturbing increase in wildfires in Dorset, figures reveal.
Already this year, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) has attended more than twice as many heath fires than all of 2012.
Between January and September 1, DFRS recorded 62 heath fires. The total for 2012 – with its summer punctuated by heavy rains – was 30.
Out of 2012’s total of 30 fires, 19 (63 per cent) were malicious. So far this year, 40 (64.5 per cent) have been recorded as malicious.
DFRS arson education officer Gaynor Mant said there had not been a huge rise in malicious fires as a percentage of total fires.
“What we have seen this year is a beautiful long dry summer which has meant the ground is drier so heathland or grass fires will start easily,” she said.
“We are aware that arson incidents are still occurring and we are working hard with the police and other partners to educate young people about the dangers of fire setting.”
The rise has proved a headache for fire service bosses, as heathland blazes often require sizeable resources and manpower.
This in turn leaves controllers scrambling to ensure cover is moved into areas where fire engines have been deployed from.
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