North Yorkshire firefighters attended hundreds more fires last year, figures reveal.
The Fire Brigades Union has warned that services are under pressure, and voiced concern that “massive cuts” have led to a significant increase in fires across England.
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was called out to 2,101 fires in 2018-19, Home Office figures show.
That’s an increase of 14% compared to the previous 12 months, when 1,841 were reported.
The overall number of callouts in North Yorkshire also increased significantly, with firefighters responding to more false alarms and non-fire incidents, such as road traffic accidents.
The FBU accused the Government of being “utterly complacent about fire safety for years”, and said firefighters were responding to more incidents with fewer resources.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Shamefully, firefighters are being thanked for their efforts this year with yet another real-terms pay cut.
“We are deeply concerned that, after massive cuts to fire safety officers and years of fire safety deregulation, there has been a significant increase in fires in England.
“We have warned of the impact of climate change on fire for the last decade, but the Government has failed to listen.
“We urgently need to invest in fire and rescue services and radically boost firefighter recruitment.”
Kate Lee, shadow minister for fire services, said the latest figures show the Government’s policy is “based on a complete falsehood”.
In North Yorkshire, there was one fire-related fatality and 51 non-fatal casualties last year.
Across England, 253 people were killed in fires in 2018-19, compared with 339 the previous year – which included 70 deaths due to the Grenfell Tower fire.
The Home Office attributed the increase in fires to the hot summer in 2018.
A spokesperson said: “We are grateful for the continued tireless efforts of firefighters across the country.”