Thursday morning news briefing: UK's 'exceptional' risk of wildfires – The Telegraph

Also from this AM's Front Page newsletter: Sunak 'dug heels in' to halt Brexit reforms & French history gets trigger warning. Sign up below
One spark is enough to cause destruction. That is the warning as wildfires threaten to sweep across parts of the country this weekend, after ministers were warned of an "unprecedented" risk to homes and the countryside. 
Fire chiefs told government officials during an emergency meeting that destructive blazes were likely to spread into residential areas in the coming days – fuelled by dry conditions and a strong easterly wind. 
The Met Office has raised the Fire Severity Index, which assesses how easily a blaze could spread, to the highest, "exceptional" level for an area of southern England that stretches from Nottingham to Sussex and as far west as Abergavenny this Sunday. 
As temperatures are expected to reach 36C (97F), see a map of the forecast and fire risk areas. Police are planning to step up patrols for activity that could spark a blaze in high-risk areas as the Government prepares to announce an official drought in the south as soon as tomorrow. 
Liz Perkins and environment editor Emma Gatten report on the "firestarter patrols" on a mission to protect the countryside.
The Oxfordshire village of Northend became the first place in Britain to run out of water earlier this week, with residents resorting to using bottled water for everything from filling troughs to washing themselves. 
Levels at their nearest reservoir dropped so low that taps are running dry and toilets will not flush. 
Helen Chandler-Wilde visited the village to learn how households are coping without running water.
After 24 hours of bitter briefing wars in the Tory leadership race, two Cabinet ministers claim today that Rishi Sunak resisted attempts to cut Brexit red tape
Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, who both back Liz Truss, say Mr Sunak "dug his heels in as chancellor" on reforms that were only possible after the UK left the EU. 
The pair make the allegation in an article for The Telegraph in which they name two specific incidents
The escalation in the war of words between the two camps comes as the candidates prepare for tonight’s sixth leadership hustings, organised by The Telegraph and hosted by our associate editor Camilla Tominey.
It is the latest front in the culture wars. French history and culture has been given a trigger warning in a university module as they "may be upsetting to some students". 
Professors at Aberdeen University have said that grappling with aspects of France should be done "sensitively". 
University documents state that the trigger warning is included in a course guide for a module called Qualify French Language. Craig Simpson explains the topics on the syllabus.
In today’s cartoon, Matt finds humour in the changes to our gardens caused by a lack of water. And view cartoonist Blower‘s latest work.
Law and order | Police failure to tackle thieves and burglars threatens their "bond of trust" with the public, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary says today. In an article for The Telegraph, Andy Cooke says most victims of such crimes are being denied justice because of officers’ failure to do the basics in investigations. As home affairs editor Charles Hymas reports, Mr Cooke says police are "setting themselves up to fail" from the point of taking a 999 call to finalising a case.
New satellite images reveal the extensive damage to a Russian base in Crimea after it was targeted in a mysterious attack, appearing to be considerably worse than the Kremlin has publicly admitted. The photographs show at least three large craters near jet ammunition storage buildings and severe damage from a fire that ripped through the airbase. Read the latest on speculation the blasts were the result of a Ukrainian attack that would represent a significant escalation in the war.
Try today’s PlusWord, which our deputy puzzles editor Michael Baker solved in 53secs. Can you beat him? Yesterday’s solution: FREAK.
Grass-roots sport faces being thrown into chaos by a heatwave that has rendered many playing fields too dangerous to use. The new amateur rugby season is under particular threat, with the Rugby Football Union ready to implement emergency measures including more non-contact training and a greater use of plastic pitches. But many pre-season fixtures are already being cancelled due to rock-hard surfaces.
As chaos in energy markets picks up pace and supplies falter, the UK faces a similar crisis to South Africa. Helen Cahill reports that load-shedding looks likely to become the buzzword of this winter amid warnings that rolling blackouts of the developing world are making their way to Britain as the nation risks being dragged into a crisis to match the power cuts of the 1970s. Meanwhile, thousands of workers are staging unofficial walkouts as soaring inflation and pay disputes trigger a wave of "wildcat" strikes that threatens major economic disruption.
Cannellini beans with tuna on focaccia | Bright and crunchy, this dish by Claire Thomson is a doddle to assemble.
While the west coast of Mallorca gets the most attention, the southeast of the island is arguably more beautiful. Avoid the resorts of Cala d’Or and stay inland. In this guide, Mark C. O’Flaherty suggests a town to stay in that is as peaceful as it is pretty (before everyone else discovers it).
Digital etiquette | WhatsApp has announced wide-ranging changes to its privacy features. Ed Cumming says by far the most important is that you will be able to leave groups without your departure being announced to the whole party – as he identifies five groups you secretly wish you could leave. Do you agree? Join the debate.
If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing – on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.
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