Long, dry 2018 summer saw Notts firefighters attend hundreds more grass fires

The long, dry summer of 2018 saw Nottinghamshire firefighters attend hundreds more call-outs, with crews drawn to dozens of barren grass blazes across our area

New figures released by the Home Office have revealed that Nottinghamshire crews were called out to 4,209 fires between 2018-19, an increase of 27 per cent on the previous 12 months when they attended 3,318 call-outs.

A fire at Sutton last summer.

A fire at Sutton last summer.

Of those 4,209 fires, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service says it attended 2,427 secondary fires, including grass and moorland blazes, which made up a staggering 57 per cent of its calls.

The fire service has attributed most of its grass fires last summer to the “long dry spell” of weather which saw most parts of Mansfield and Ashfield go without rainfall for weeks on end.

But a spokesman also said that crews attended more false alarms than the previous year, but that most false alarms were made “with good intent”.

A spokesman for the service said: “The increase in incidents can be attributed to the long dry spell we experienced during the summer last year which saw the amount of secondary fires increase significantly compared with last year - a rise from 1,651 to 2,427.

Firefighters tackling a blaze at Oak Tree Heath last summer.

Firefighters tackling a blaze at Oak Tree Heath last summer.

“There was a slight increase in false alarms attended, at an increase of 82.

“Of these the largest increase came from false alarms raised with a good intent whilst malicious false alarm calls and automatic fire alarm responses decreased.

“The introduction of the Tri-Service Automatic Fire Alarm procedure in December last year is expected to reduce the amount of false alarm attended by firefighters.”

During the 2018 summer firefighters regularly attended fires at land off Sherwood Oaks Business Park, behind your Chad’s old offices, with three separate call-outs in less than two weeks in July 2018.

Crews were also called to land off Oak Tree Heath in Mansfield more than five times to attend grass fires, while a blaze at Vicar Water country park in Clipstone saw a 2,000 square metre piece of land decimated by flames.

A similar fire broke out in Vicar Water earlier this year, with land “the size of 14 football pitches” ripping apart grass land on April 9.

And just one day before, firefighters attended three separate grass fires in Mansfield, while an investigation was launched into two fires in Sutton - both at Rookery Park.

Paul Gair, fire prevention manager for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue, said: “We attend all kinds of incidents, not just fires – but when our crews are mobilised to deal with grass fires, they are potentially being taken away from more serious incidents where lives may be at risk.”