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Drought looms in southwest England faces exceptional wildfire risk

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New, ominous warnings could soon be added to the list amid warnings about heat, health risks and wildfire risks – Ian Woods report

ITV News understands that a drought is likely to be declared in the South West of England.

The new condition is considered a precautionary measure and rain is forecast for next week, urging agencies and water companies to take action to manage water resources and protect the environment.

The National Drought Group, made up of government and institutional officials, water companies and other groups such as the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), will meet on Friday to discuss prolonged dry weather.

Temperatures in areas with the amber warning for heatwaves issued by the Meteorological Agency for most of England and Wales are expected to reach highs of 34C on Thursday and highs of 36C over the weekend.

A fire that burned crops in the fields of Suffolk

Outside the warning zone, temperatures in northern England and Scotland will rise to around 20 degrees or even below 30 degrees in some areas.

Vulnerable people have adverse health effects and a larger population may be affected.

Travel delays are also possible, and as more people head to tourist destinations, the risk of water accidents and fires increases.

There is also a heat health alert from the UK Health Security Agency, and experts advise people to beware of older people or people with pre-existing medical conditions and young children.

Low water level view of United Utilities at Woodhead Reservoir in Derbyshire. Credit: PA

Wednesday temperatures reached 31.8C in Wiggonholt, West Sussex and Monmouthshire, Wales, thermometers rose to 28.8C at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire in Scotland and 28.1C at Stormont Castle in County Down in Northern Ireland.

The Bureau of Meteorology said Monday there could be a thunderstorm and thunderstorm in the hot weather, but it’s still unclear where the rain will fall.

Recent heatwaves have resulted in less rainfall, drying out countryside, parks and gardens and creating a risk of wildfires.

The Meteorological Agency Fire Severity Index (FSI), which measures how serious a fire can be if it starts, is very high in most of England and Wales, bordering Wales by the weekend.

ITV weather presenter Alex Beresford explains why a drought warning could be declared for parts of South West England.

unprepared firefighters

Firefighter Riccardo la Torre said the fire department was not prepared for the crisis and that they are working hard to deal with the summer fires.

He said: We’ve been warning for years of the effects of layoffs and fire truck service outages, but when it comes to governments and fire chiefs, we’ve been deaf.

They decided to move forward with their obsession with cutting jobs. There were 11,500 fewer firefighters than in 2010. It is now nearly impossible to extinguish all fires, even with the same number. The conditions are absolutely brutal.

On London’s hottest days, the fire trucks stand idle because there aren’t enough firefighters to pick them up.

London fire brigade dealing with the aftermath of a grass fire in Raynham, east London. Credit: PA

In the capital, where record heat in July sparked numerous devastating fires, fire chiefs are urging people not to barbecue in open areas or balconies, properly smoke cigarettes and dispose of garbage properly.

The London Fire Brigade said the control room sent firefighters to deal with 340 lawns, garbage and open-air fires during the first week of August.

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The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has issued a very high wildfire hazard alert across South and East Scotland.

SFRS deputy director, Bruce Farquharson, has urged people to be vigilant and not open fires.

Are there more hosepipe bans?

To curb water use in dry conditions, the latest hose pipe bans on furniture in Kent and Sussex go into effect on Friday.

Southern Water has implemented a hose pipe ban for customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and Thames Water, which serves 15 million customers in London and the Thames Valley, says it will implement it in the coming weeks.

Conservationists are calling for a ban across the UK from the use of hosepipes to protect struggling wildlife and, in some areas, very low-level rivers.

Climate change is making heat waves more intense and frequent, and last month’s record temperatures were at least ten times higher due to global warming, a study found that would be almost impossible without global warming.

Scientists also warn that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and other human activities is making drought more likely.

So when will it rain?

Meteorologist Marco Petagna said it could rain early next week.

There are signs that it could rain next week, but details are uncertain at this time, he said.

He added that Britain will need some rain for several weeks to water the land.

What we really need is a few weeks of light rain to soak up the ground.

Thunderstorms are more likely to cause some flooding problems because the ground is hard and the water doesn’t sink.

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