Record weather conditions made the UK’s destructive wildfires possible

A fire weather index, which estimates how conducive weather conditions are for wildfires, was at its highest ever level as grass fires raged on 19 July, the UK’s hottest day


2 August 2022

Damage is surveyed at homes gutted by fire on 25 July in Wennington, London

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The unprecedented destruction caused by grass fires in the UK’s recent 40°C (104°F) heatwave was made possible by weather conditions that were the most conducive to wildfires in modern records, according to data shared with New Scientist.

On 19 July, the UK recorded its hottest ever day, with temperatures peaking at 40.3°C (104.5°F) in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, which scientists have established was made far more likely because of climate change. That …

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