£8,000 bill for Moel Famau mountain fire

£8,000 bill for Moel Famau mountain fire

20 February 2008

published by www.eveningleader.co.uk

United Kingdom — A forest fire that ripped across Moel Famau after council workers’ controlled burning got out of hand is expected to have cost up to £8,000.

The blaze, which saw six fire crews battle for six hours against 20ft high flames on Monday, started after controlled heather burning being carried out by Denbighshire Council workers to safeguard the habitats of endangered birds, got out of control.

North Wales Fire Service had been informed of the burning beforehand, but it swept out of control when strong winds suddenly changed direction.

The blaze spread across safety barriers and out of the control of the nine staff in charge, consuming a four square kilometre area of heather.

The damage caused is expected to cost council-owned Moel Famau Country Park about £8,000.

Firefighters were called at 2.15pm and the fire was finally put out at about 8pm on the same day.

The incident occurred just hours after North Wales Fire Service issued a warning about gorse fires. A spokesman for Denbighshire

Council said: “The burning was part of a co-ordinated programme of heather management. To maintain a healthy moorland, small sections of the heather are cut and burnt annually.

“Every possible step was taken to ensure the burning was kept under control, nine people were at hand to assist with beating the fire. We contacted the fire service beforehand to inform them of our intentions and two metre wide fire breaks were created, to contain the burn and prevent its spread.

“Unfortunately, there was a sudden change in wind direction which breached the fire breaks and caused the fire to spread.

“Staff from the countryside service immediately called the fire and rescue service for assistance, and with support from Forestry Commission staff, stayed well into the evening to ensure the fire was out completely. Our staff returned at first light, to make sure the fire had not re-ignited.”

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