By Paul Homewood
Please save us from these cretins!
Firefighter Craig Hope deals with "hundreds and hundreds" of wildfires across the south Wales valleys every year.
But he has noticed recently they are changing – burning later into the year, getting larger and causing more damage.
All signs of climate change, he says – and "it’s like watching a Hollywood film".
With a month to go until world leaders gather in Glasgow for the crucial COP26 summit on global warming, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has urged action, warning that its members are on the front line.
As a wildfire specialist, Mr Hope travelled to Greece in August with three other colleagues from South Wales Fire and Rescue to assist with devastating blazes there.
He predicts parts of Wales could soon suffer similar scenes unless action is taken to adapt to the challenges of warmer weather.
Mediterranean countries now experiencing severe issues "were having fires like we have 30 years ago", he explained.
"We’re in a position where we need to act – the next 30 years will be the deciding factor."
"The problem we have in Wales is that we have a lot of poor weather."
He said it meant fires might not be at the forefront of people’s minds.
But when it is wet in Wales, vegetation grows and it gets bigger and bigger.
"And then we get bursts of very hot, dry, windy weather," said the firefighter.
The Forestry Commission Wales were so concerned a few years ago about wildfires in South Wales that they commissioned a study, “Wildfires in Wales: social drivers and mitigation measures”.
The problem was not “climate change”, but arson:
The evidence was pretty damning. Most fire incidents proportionally occurred in deprived areas. Furthermore 90% of fires happened within 100m of a road or public right of way.
And 60% of fires started between 4pm and midnight, with the number at weekends above average:
The report, which was written in 2011, did not make one solitary reference to climate as a potential factor, but made a long series of recommendations as to how the level of arson could be reduced.
It did note that most grassfires occur in March and April:
In one significant section, they look at the impact of weather. Unsurprisingly there are fewer fires during times of increased rainfall, yet it does not seem to take long for the number of fires to significantly increase once the rain stops.
This strongly suggests that the rainfall factor is more to do with arsonists staying indoors than a direct cause of fire. You also do not need weeks of dry weather for fires to start.
So, what about the fireman’s opinion that the weather must be getting hotter and drier at this time of year?
Plainly it is without foundation:
Perhaps Mr Hope should stick to what he is good at in future, fire fighting, instead of lecturing us on things he does not understand.
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
October 1, 2021 at 05:18AM