Hot weather sparks busy weekend for emergency services

EMERGENCY services across Suffolk faced one of the busiest periods so far this year over the weekend.

In many parts of the county fire crews were called out to fires in undergrowth, areas of grassland and heath as the hot, dry conditions sparked scores of blazes.

Gary Phillips, assistant chief fire officer said yesterday and Saturday had been the busiest two-day spell of the year so far for the service, and praised crews for their hard work.

“Suffolk has been very, very busy this weekend with everything from grass fires and gorse fires,” he said.

“Our firefighters have coped admirably well and I am really impressed by the way that they met the challenge given to them.

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“I cannot praise them enough.

“In lots of the fires the weather has been a key factor – it is so dry at the moment I would ask everyone to take care.”

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One of the major incidents tackled took place near Wenhaston.

At just before 11.25am yesterday firefighters were called to tackle a blaze in a combine harvester.

The flames had spread to engulf eight acres of straw.

Meanwhile, at 12.18pm, fire crews were called to a field near Bury St Edmunds after three hectares of straw and a bailing machine were discovered well alight.

There were also similar incidents in Ipswich, Stowmarket and Haverhill throughout the weekend.

Meanwhile, on the coast, lifeguards and coastguard teams were kept busy as more than 30 incidents were reported.

A spokesman for Thames Coastguard said beaches across the region had been very busy as thousands of sunseekers enjoyed the weather with a dip in the sea.

The spokesman said coastguards had been called to a range of incidents, including people struggling in the sea and youngsters floating adrift in inflatables. “Over the weekend we have had a lot more calls than usual.

“It is really important people take extra care in the warm weather, people need to be aware of the dangers, the water is still quite cold and the currents can take people by surprise,” he added.

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