“The profit demands of big business and the inaction of government are driving a climate crisis, and last year’s wildfires demonstrated how ill-prepared we are to meet it.”Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary
By the Fire Brigades Union (FBU)
The London Fire Brigade has released a Major Incident Review looking at its response to the July 2022 wildfires. It confirms that a shortage of crew and fire appliances hampered the response. Since 2010, around one in five firefighter jobs have been cut, while the risk of extreme weather events has been on the rise.
Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary, said:
“The profit demands of big business and the inaction of government are driving a climate crisis, and last year’s wildfires demonstrated how ill-prepared we are to meet it.
“Ministers and chief fire officers often talk about “resilience” – but they are not providing adequate resources for firefighters to do their jobs. Since 2010, more than one in five firefighter jobs have been lost and unprecedented numbers of fire stations have been closed. On the worst day of the fires in 2022, 39 fire appliances were out of action in London because there weren’t enough firefighters to crew them.
“The UK Fire and Rescue Service is locally fragmented, and suffers from a lack of national strategy and planning on issues like wildfires. Wildfires have been on the government’s risk register for a decade, but they have failed to learn the lessons of last year’s wildfires. This is negligence driven by cuts and complacency.
“The Westminster and devolved governments must take responsibility for this issue, bring together a UK-wide strategy for wildfires, and reverse the cuts of recent years.”