Special unit will tackle moor fires

Special unit will tackle moor fires

13 April 2010

published by www.keighleynews.co.uk

United Kingdom —     The purchase of an adapted Land Rover and trailer means Keighley Fire Station now has its own specialist equipment for fighting moorland fires.

The rugged, highly mobile vehicle is able to reach areas which conventional fire engines struggle to access.

Steve Nunn, commander at the Bradford Road station, said: “A few years ago we had the Ilkley Gate fire.

“We realised that normal, large fire engines weren’t designed for the moors.”

He said the new Land Rover and trailer — known as a wild fire unit — comes with its own water bowser, pumps and lightweight sections of hose.

He added that despite its small size the unit was capable of directing water deep into moorland peat, where fire could take hold well beneath the surface.

“The soil around here is so sandy the moors can dry out very quickly after wet weather,” he said. “Normally the gamekeepers are very responsible but fires can be started by other people discarding cigarettes or dropping glass which magnifies sunlight. In the last week there have been two moor fires in Lancashire which each needed six pumps.”

He said moor fires could spread and change direction rapidly, meaning a lighter, more agile vehicle was needed to keep pace.

He said fire crews tackling this type of blaze often had to stay at the scene all day, which was why the trailer even contained a portable toilet.

It also includes global positioning devices, to enable a commander to keep track of widely scattered personnel at remote locations.

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