THERE are 100 fewer firefighters in Oxfordshire than a decade ago.

The latest available Home Office figures show there was 428 full-time firefighters at Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service as of the end of March last year, down from 546 in 2011.

Speaking about the national picture, Fire Brigades Union officer Riccardo la Torre said: “Fire and rescue services should plan and prepare for foreseeable risk, yet it is clear they are not doing that.

“Further heatwaves will result in more wildfires, and the fire and rescue service is unlikely to be able to cope.

“Firefighters face a climate emergency at work and a cost of living crisis at home.”

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The Home Office figures show that 2,431 men and women joined the national fire service in 2020/21 – down from 2,845 in the previous financial year.

However, in Oxfordshire, the number rose from 78 to 93 over this time.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The Government is committed to ensuring fire services have the resources they need to keep us safe, including from wildfires, and overall fire and rescue authorities will receive around £2.5 billion in 2022/23.”

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

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