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Reservoirs dry up in what’s set to be hottest May since records began

Reservoirs drying up in hottest May
Parts of the Jumbles Reservoir in Lancashire looked bone dry yesterday (Picture: SWNS)

England’s driest May since 1896 has left the country at risk of ‘devastating’ wildfires, while water levels plunge.

Water board bosses are also anxiously eyeing reservoirs as the country bakes in unseasonably warm and dry weather. 

This month’s lack of rainfall is likely to make it England’s driest for more than 100 years, according to the Met Office, who told The Sun that just 9.5mm rain so far meant the ‘chances are’ it will be the driest May since 1896. That would be the latest weather record to tumble in Britain amid rising global temperatures and concern around the climate crisis. 

There has been very little rain in most regions across the country for weeks and with more wall-to-wall sun forecast into June, fire chiefs warn undergrowth could explode into flames ‘just about anywhere’. And yesterday the Country Landowners’ Association begged the public to take extra care following a spate of wildfires, including a huge blaze which devastated a forest on Anglesey off the North Wales coast early on Tuesday, which police believe could have been started by arsonists.

It comes as stark images showed Lancashire’s Jumbles Reservoir, in Bradshaw, Bolton, almost bone dry amid concern about falling water levels.

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Fire chiefs have warned groups thinking of escaping the coronavirus lockdown by driving into the countryside and having barbecues are adding to the risk of wildfires.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘Due to the current dry weather climate, we wish to remind everyone that whilst we recognise the importance of outdoor exercise for health and wellbeing, we would ask that you are considerate in the disposal of rubbish and cigarettes.

‘Please ensure that cigarettes are extinguished appropriately and all rubbish placed in bins or taken home with you to help stop these fires.’

A dried up Jumbles Reservoir, Bradshaw, Bolton, Lancashire UK. May 27, 2020. See SWNS story SWLEreservoir. The United Utilities reservoir, which was completed in 1971 lies to the North of the town. In April the North West of England only received 30% of the regions LTA rainfall, almost no rain has fallen, in May, with 14% of the long term average. Only 11mm of rain has fallen in this month up to 19th May 2020. The area surrounding the reservoir is popular with walkers getting exercise during the Coronavirus lockdown despite a lack of bluebells to admire. They are now greeted with a boulder strewn shoreline and cracked mud fed by a trickle from feeder streams.
The reservoir, in Bradshaw, Bolton, highlights concerns about a dry May (Picture: SWNS)
A dried up Jumbles Reservoir, Bradshaw, Bolton, Lancashire UK. May 27, 2020. See SWNS story SWLEreservoir. The United Utilities reservoir, which was completed in 1971 lies to the North of the town. In April the North West of England only received 30% of the regions LTA rainfall, almost no rain has fallen, in May, with 14% of the long term average. Only 11mm of rain has fallen in this month up to 19th May 2020. The area surrounding the reservoir is popular with walkers getting exercise during the Coronavirus lockdown despite a lack of bluebells to admire. They are now greeted with a boulder strewn shoreline and cracked mud fed by a trickle from feeder streams.
The United Utilities reservoir had barely any water in it yesterday – and there is more dry, hot weather on the way (Picture: SWNS)
A dried up Jumbles Reservoir, Bradshaw, Bolton, Lancashire UK. May 27, 2020. See SWNS story SWLEreservoir. The United Utilities reservoir, which was completed in 1971 lies to the North of the town. In April the North West of England only received 30% of the regions LTA rainfall, almost no rain has fallen, in May, with 14% of the long term average. Only 11mm of rain has fallen in this month up to 19th May 2020. The area surrounding the reservoir is popular with walkers getting exercise during the Coronavirus lockdown despite a lack of bluebells to admire. They are now greeted with a boulder strewn shoreline and cracked mud fed by a trickle from feeder streams.
Water bosses are worried by the declining levels (Picture: SWNS)
Dry ground at the Lindley Wood Reservoir near Otley, West Yorkshire. There are no plans for hosepipe bans despite some regions being on course for the driest May on record, according to Water UK, the industry trade body. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 28, 2020. The Met Office is predicting some regions, especially in the south of England, will record the lowest May rainfall figures on record when the final statistics are collated on Monday. See PA story WEATHER Water. Photo credit should read: Richard McCarthy/PA Wire
Dry ground at the Lindley Wood Reservoir near Otley, West Yorkshire (Picture: PA)

A Country Landowners’ Association South-East spokesman added: ‘Warm, dry and settled conditions have elevated wildfire conditions.

‘According to the latest figures from the Environment Agency, on average there were 24 dry days last month (0.2mm recorded rainfall or less a day) in the South East, and it was the sunniest April on record.

‘May has continued the trend, with just five per cent of the long-term average rainfall being recorded last week.

‘The dry conditions are likely to continue over the next few weeks.

‘Wildfires have the capability to devastate farmland, wildlife and also pose a risk to the lives of people living and working in rural and adjacent communities.

Covidiots who sparked a huge forest fire when their disposable barbecue got out of hand have been slammed. More than 60 firefighters spent almost five hours tackling the blaze in Puddletown Forest, Dorset.
A blaze in Puddletown Forest, Dorset. (Picture: @DWFRSPooleFire)
Covidiots who sparked a huge forest fire when their disposable barbecue got out of hand have been slammed. More than 60 firefighters spent almost five hours tackling the blaze in Puddletown Forest, Dorset.
More than 60 firefighters spent almost five hours tackling this blaze – a scene chiefs are concerned could be replicated as the country bakes (Picture: @DWFRSPooleFire)
Covidiots who sparked a huge forest fire when their disposable barbecue got out of hand have been slammed. More than 60 firefighters spent almost five hours tackling the blaze in Puddletown Forest, Dorset.
The forest fire is believed to have been started by a disposable barbecue (Picture: @DWFRSPooleFire)

Last year was the hottest ever for Europe and the second hottest worldwide. 

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Ocean temperatures also make for alarming reading on climate change – with the hottest year for global temperatures being 2019, followed by 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014. 

In the UK, it was revealed last year that the country’s top ten hottest years ever have all happened since 2002. 

In a huge blaze last week, a forest near Wareham, Dorset, was devastated, killing thousands of birds, lizards and other creatures.

Another inferno razed a stretch of Ashdown Forest, the Sussex beauty spot which was the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood.

More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze all night, helped by forest rangers to beat out the inferno.

Another blaze at Penrith, Cumbria, was sparked when a bonfire raged out of control, setting light to the undergrowth.

Fire crews also battled a blaze in the undergrowth on Bangor Mountain in North Wales which led to a 200ft high column of thick black smoke being visible from miles away.

Undated handout photo issued by Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service of the fire at Wareham Forest. Fire chiefs have urged the public to shelve plans for barbecues on commonland after a blaze at the woodland beauty spot was declared a major incident. PA Photo. Issue date: Wednesday May 20, 2020. A section of Wareham Forest the size of 250 football pitches is currently burning, with scores of fire fighters still at the scene in Dorset, between Poole and Dorchester, around 48 hours after the blaze started. See PA story FIRE Wareham. Photo credit should read: Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
The Wareham Forest fire last week was the size of 250 football pitches (Picture: PA)
Undated handout photo issued by Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service of the fire at Wareham Forest. Fire chiefs have urged the public to shelve plans for barbecues on commonland after a blaze at the woodland beauty spot was declared a major incident. PA Photo. Issue date: Wednesday May 20, 2020. A section of Wareham Forest the size of 250 football pitches is currently burning, with scores of fire fighters still at the scene in Dorset, between Poole and Dorchester, around 48 hours after the blaze started. See PA story FIRE Wareham. Photo credit should read: Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Fire chiefs have urged the public to shelve plans for barbecues to avoid a repeat (Picture: PA)
Covidiots who sparked a huge forest fire when their disposable barbecue got out of hand have been slammed. More than 60 firefighters spent almost five hours tackling the blaze in Puddletown Forest, Dorset.
A lack of rain has meant the ground is very dry and could easily ignite (Picture: DWFireRescue)

This is the fire guidance the public are being urged to follow:

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  • Do not try and tackle the fire yourself – call 999.
  • Give an accurate location of the fire,
  • Move to a safe area and contact the local land manager if possible.
  • If the fire is in a remote area, please meet emergency services at the access point so that you can guide them to the location.

What not to do:

  • Don’t discard cigarettes.
  • Don’t have BBQs in unauthorised areas.
  • Never leave a BBQ unattended.
  • Don’t discard rubbish – particularly reflective materials.
  • Don’t burn off garden rubbish during hot periods or if you live close to woodland.
  • Don’t have bonfires on hot days or during prolonged periods of dry

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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Source: Metro News UK

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