Public told to take care after gorse fire

Public told to take care after gorse fire

27 April 2011

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United Kingdom — FIREFIGHTERS used new technology to control two heath fires in the Fleet area on Bank Holiday Monday.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the first blaze in Velmead Common off Velmead Road at 4pm.

The fire, involving four hectares of common land, was quickly brought under control using the latest Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS).

The new technology allows fires to be extinguished more quickly.

“This is the second time we have used the new CAFS system on a common fire,” said group manager Jerry Leonard.

“We were able to surround the fire to stop it spreading and knock it down much quicker than with traditional fire fighting methods.

“It meant the conditions were much more bearable for the firefighters, who were able to damp down the fire and make the area safe.”

Six engines from Fleet, Rushmoor, Hartley Wintney, Guildford and Alton attended the blaze, along with a specialist multi-role vehicle, CAFS vehicle and water carrier.

Four hose reels, three jets and knapsack water extinguishers were used along with the CAFS technology.

Meanwhile, five engines from Odiham, Rushmoor, Fleet, Petersfield and Basingstoke helped put out a fire involving two hectares of woods off Beacon Hill Road after being called at 5.35pm.

Crew manager Andy Clifford from Rushmoor Fire Station said crews stayed at the Velmead fire until around midnight damping down, while firefighters were still at the Beacon Hill blaze on Tuesday morning.

“With these fires the heat goes underground into the peat soil and stays there so you get little fires popping up,” he added.

Mr Clifford said the new foam spray helps put out fires faster as it cools and smothers flames at the same time.

He added: “It is made from a chemical similar to foam that doesn’t damage the environment.”

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service warned people how vulnerable the countryside is to heath fires during this early hot spell.

“Many heath fires are in fact accidental,” he added.

“Common causes include carelessly discarded smoking materials, barbecues and litter.

“We urge the public to take care when in the countryside and to alert the fore and rescue service to countryside fires as early as possible by calling 999.

“An early call could mean the difference between a small, easily controllable fire and a widespread, devastating fire.”

Firefighters use the new system

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