Firefighters in Tyne and Wear have been battling a wildfire for more than 20 hours as they call on the public to work with them.

Chiefs at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have said that Wednesday evening was busier than Bonfire night with large fires across the region.

Their crews were called out to a wildfire at fields in Ryton just after 3pm which had spread over 3.5km and put nearby properties at risk.

Six fire appliances, a fire boat and 28 firefighters battled the blaze and two appliances remain on the scene this afternoon to pat down the remaining embers.

Yesterday afternoon five more appliances were also called to an allotment fire in Easington Lane that had put nearby properties at risk.

More than 20 firefighters battled the blaze for a number of hours before it was eventually brought under control and extinguished.

Another wildfire in Witherwack, and a house fire in Sunderland, meant it was an incredibly busy night for TWFRS control staff and crews.

In fact, they received a day’s worth of calls in just three hours and three times the amount of calls compared to the previous week.

A total of 60 fires, including 16 grass fires, were attended by TWFRS on Wednesday – significantly above their daily average.

Today (Thursday 11th August) fire chiefs are reiterating their messages about responsible behaviour in the dry and hot conditions across the region.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Peter Heath has again urged people not to use barbecues in the countryside, avoid setting bonfires and be careful of disposing cigarettes and glass bottles.

He said: “Although temperatures are not expected to reach the levels that we saw last month, the hot weather comes at a time where things are already tinder dry. This presents a serious increase in the chances of fire and rapid fire spread.

“Last night we saw a huge surge in calls and attended incidents where relatively small fires had been exacerbated by the heat and led to a much more challenging response.

“We want to ask the public to work with us and behave responsibly during the hot weather.

“It is important to take your rubbish away with you, particularly glass bottles or objects. These can concentrate sunlight and spark fires that put people’s lives at risk.

“Ultimately, the increased risk as a result of the tinder dry conditions, coupled with deliberate fires in bins and public areas, adds a level of risk that is avoidable.

“With the continued support of local communities, we can keep everyone safe and may just save someone’s property.

“We also want to issue a timely reminder to behave responsibly around the water and make sure you are aware of some of the dangers that may be hidden beneath the surface.”

An amber weather warning issued by the Met Office is in place in the region until 6pm on Saturday 13th August.

For more information on the weather warnings, visit the Met Office social media accounts.

For Fire Safety and Water Safety advice visit the Safety Advice section of our website. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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