England and Wales face ‘exceptional wildfire risk’ amid 36C heatwave – live

Aftermath of Dagenham wildfires shows devastation

Parts of England and Wales face an “exceptional” risk of wildfires as an amber heat warming comes into force.

The Met Office has raised the Fire Severity Index to exceptional – the highest level – for much of southern England, and stretching as far west as Abergavenny in Wales for Sunday.

“The risk is very high across much of central, southern and eastern England,” Met Office meteorologist Marco Petagna said speaking about wildfires.

“Going into Friday and the weekend, it starts to increase further, going into the highest category of exceptional risk.”

The Met Office has issued an amber heat warning running between Thursday and Sunday, which could see temperatures peak at 36C across southern England and eastern Wales.

Mark Hardingham, the chairman of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) told The Telegraph that he “can’t remember a summer like this” in his entire 32-year career in the fire service.

“We’re not going to see temperatures as hot as we saw three weeks ago, but that doesn’t matter because the ground couldn’t get any drier than it already is.”

1660197955

‘Exceptional wildfire risk’ in place amid heatwave

Parts of England and Wales face an “exceptional” risk of wildfires as an amber heat warming comes into force with temperatures forecast to hit 36C in some parts of the UK over the next four days.

The Met Office has raised the Fire Severity Index to exceptional – the highest level – for much of southern England, and stretching as far west as Abergavenny in Wales for Sunday.

“The risk is very high across much of central, southern and eastern England,” Met Office meteorologist Marco Petagna said speaking about wildfires.

“Going into Friday and the weekend, it starts to increase further, going into the highest category of exceptional risk.”

1660197504

Four-day extreme heat warning comes into effect

The Met Office alert for southern and central England and parts of Wales for extreme heat has come into effect from midnight last night, and is supposed to last till Sunday.

Temperatures are expected to go up to 36C in some parts with alerts for blazes and health-related concerns in place.

There is also an increased risk of water safety incidents, the Met Office warned.

Met Office meteorologist Marco Petagna said that the temperatures would “widely” be in the 30s across the UK, peaking locally in the mid-30s on Saturday.

“I think the hottest day will probably be Saturday, where we could see 36C in one or two spots,” he said.

1660162712

Police smash window to save dog locked inside sweltering car

Police officers in Nottingham smashed a car window to rescue a distressed dog that collapsed after being left in a sweltering car.

The desperate Shih Tzu was left in the vehicle at a park and ride close to the city centre, when temperatures soared to 33C on Monday (8 August).

Bodycam footage shows officers smash the window of the car and haul the panting pooch to safety.

The dog was given water and rushed to an animal hospital where his temperature was recorded at 39.1C. He is making a “good recovery”.

1660159805

Bristol’s River Avon reduced to a muddy trickle amid high temperatures

The impact of the heatwave and drought on Bristol are clearly visible from the cliffs of the Avon Gorge, where the river below is a muddy trickle.

Grass on the Clifton Downs overlooking the gorge is parched and the area remains quiet, with very few people braving the daily heat to enjoy the sunshine.

The Met Office has issued a four-day amber extreme heat warning – from Thursday until Sunday – with temperatures in some parts of the UK expected to reach up to 35C.

1660154415

Temperatures hit 30C across most of England and Wales on Wednesday, say Met Office

Tom Morgan, a meteorologist with the Met Office, said temperatures had reached 30C quite widely across England and Wales on Wednesday.

The latest heatwave was not expected to produce the record-breaking temperatures seen in July, where thermometers climbed above 40C for the first time in the UK, but would still be notable – with some areas getting close to their local or regional records – and lengthy.

“We’re looking at a pretty extended spell of hot weather, with a good seven days of temperatures of 30C or so in some places,” Mr Morgan said.

1660150815

Areas in UK hit by water shortages as heatwave hits

Areas in UK hit by water shortages as heatwave hits

1660147412

Drought and cost of living crises may ‘force people out of farming’

Droughts and rising costs due to inflation will “force people out of farming”, and workers need to “talk to each other” if struggling, farmers have said.

British farmers have detailed the difficulties caused by drought, which has forced an earlier harvest and will leave them struggling to store and sell goods.

This comes as a four-day amber warning for extreme heat in parts of England is due to come into effect from Thursday, with temperatures set to climb to 36C in some places.

Andrew Francis, 55, from Breckland, Norfolk, who grows root vegetables and combinable crops, detailed the difficulties caused by early harvesting after the grain season only had 35% of its long-term average rainfall.

He said it is a “really difficult commercial environment to try and diversify in” because farming profit margins have “eroded so much over the last few years”, leaving no “resilience funds” for a lot of farm owners.

1660145552

Beavers helping to tackle environmental impact of heatwaves, National Trust says

Already heralded as playing a highly effective role in reducing flood risks, the return of beavers to the UK is also demonstrating how the species protect environments from the impacts of hot, dry weather.

With another heatwave building across Britain and millions of people subject to hosepipe bans, the National Trust has warned the record dry spell is taking a heavy toll on the landscapes, watercourses, plants and animals across its estates.

But one area where the impacts have been considerably reduced are those sites where beavers have been reintroduced.

Our environment correspondent Harry Cockburn has more:

1660143752

Watch: Areas in UK hit by water shortages as heatwave hits

Areas in UK hit by water shortages as heatwave hits

1660141832

Grass fire blazes in Rainham

Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters have been called to a grass fire on Lambs Lane in Rainham, east London, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) has said.

Firefighters are tackling a grass fire where two large areas of grass are alight.

Firefighters were first called at 1.43pm and were joined by crews from Dagenham, Hornchurch, Barking, East Ham and other surrounding fire stations are at the scene.

The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.