As Derbyshire suffered in the searing heat of the hottest recorded UK day on July 19, the number of 999 calls increased tenfold and by 5.30pm 33 of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service's 40 available fire engines were attending incidents throughout the county.
This was in addition to providing support to Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire fire services, both of which declared major incidents.
The fire at Win Hill, Bamford, started on the same day, taking a total of 34 engines five days to tackle and decimating a hectare of moorland and forest at a cost of £250k to the fire service.
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Addressing the Fire and Rescue Authority in a meeting on Thursday (July 28) Chief Fire Officer Gavin Tomlinson said: “Spending an average of £3 to experience a burger in the great outdoors may seem attractive, but that £3 pales into insignificance when compared to the cost of such fires and their impact on the environment and natural habitats.
“It is estimated that the fire at Win Hill may have cost our service in the region of £250,000.
“While the use of portable barbecues is a nationwide issue, I am calling for action in Derbyshire and will be writing to all our local MPs asking for their support as we cannot continue to witness the impact of such reckless use of portable barbecues when they pose such a significant fire risk.”
CFO Tomlinson praised staff members who went above and beyond during the heatwave.
He said: “Everyone working across the service played their part – our firefighters at the sharp end of the incidents we responded to, some walking for miles to reach the fire front on remote moorland; colleagues handling the 999 emergency calls for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire who dealt with a 1056 per cent increase in calls based on the daily average for July, and our professional support employees who did just that, supporting our work to Make Derbyshire Safer Together.”