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Fire crews urge public to take care to avoid wildfires as heat goes on

PUBLISHED: 12:48 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:48 02 July 2018

Anglian Water have said reservoir levels are healthy and in some cases 'above average'.  Picture: JOHN SHEPHERD/GETTY IMAGES

Anglian Water have said reservoir levels are healthy and in some cases 'above average'. Picture: JOHN SHEPHERD/GETTY IMAGES

Archant

We have just had the driest June on record with just 10% of the average rainfall, leading to some concerns about the threat of a hosepipe ban in East Anglia.

We have just had the driest June on record with just 10% of the average rainfall, leading to some concerns about the threat of a hosepipe ban in East Anglia.

Firefighters in Suffolk are warning people to take precautions to prevent further wildfires at the start of another warm and dry weekend.

Ian Bowell, the fire area commander for Suffolk Fire and Rescue service, said: “We are having some beautiful weather at the moment and the risk of grass fires increases.

“We are concerned and are prepared for a busy weekend.”

He added that while it was important members of the public enjoyed the Suffolk countryside this weekend they should take precautions where possible.

In particular, he urged those using disposal barbecues to put them on stones rather than grass which he described as being “tinder dry” at the moment.

Mr Bowell said Suffolk Fire and Rescue had also had to deal with a number of problems in the past related to bonfires of garden waste.

He said: “I would urge you not to have a bonfire – and take the garden waste to recycling.”

Forecasters believe this could be the driest June on record with East Anglia seeing just 10% of its normal rainfall.

Despite this the leading water provider for the East of England has reassured residents that water levels in both reservoirs and groundwater stores are healthy, and in some cases above average – meaning that a hosepipe ban is impossible.

Anglian Water added that it would realistically take two or three dry seasons back-to-back before the region faced a water shortage.

Meanwhile, Greater Anglia has announced that it has been working with Network Rail on a rather inventive strategy to minimise disruption to passengers during the hot weather.

As overheating can lead to a series of problems for commuters, Network Rail has covered critical points around the network with a special kind of white paint.

The paint limits the amount of heat absorbed by the rail, and can keep it between 5 and 10 degrees cooler than an unpainted rail – reducing expansion and helping to prevent signalling problems and buckled rails.

While there will be a slight dip in temperatures this weekend following a gust of cooler air from the north sea, forecasters Weatherquest said Suffolk and north Essex should see plenty of sunny skies in the week to come – with highs of 26C and 27C.

Will there be a hosepipe ban this summer?

The lack of rain - and the scorching temperatures which have dominated the past few weeks - have hit farmers badly, with many complaining about crops dying off in the heat.

However, Anglian Water has revealed the water table is not as low as you might think and have ruled out the need for a hosepipe ban this year.

The leading water provider for the East of England has said the water levels in both reservoirs and groundwater stores are healthy, and in some cases above average.

Anglian Water added that it would realistically take two or three dry seasons back-to-back before the region faced a water shortage.

Forecasters believe last month was “the driest June on record” – with East Anglia seeing just 10% of its normal rainfall.

A spokesperson for Anglian Water said: “There’s no chance of a hosepipe ban in the Anglian region this year. Water levels in our reservoirs and groundwater stores are healthy and in some cases above average.

“You’ve only got to take a look at your local reservoir, in your case, Alton Water in Suffolk. It will take a lot more than 10 days of warm weather to cause us any issues, we’d need two or three very dry seasons back-to-back to force us to put any potential restrictions in place.”

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