Scale of wildfires ‘unprecedented’

Firefighters tackle peat blaze

03 May 2011

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United Kingdom — FIREFIGHTERS battled to stop a blaze which covered hundreds of square metres of in Simonswood last weekend, it has been reported.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue said that several of its teams headed to White Moss Horticultural, on North Perimeter Road, at aroubd 4.26pm last Saturday (April 30) after a patch of moorland measuring around 200m by 200m caught fire, in an incident which at its height saw as many as 25 firefighters working to contain the fire.

Station Manager Steve Wilson, the Operational Commander of the incident said:

“Over the bank holiday period crews in both Lancashire and Greater Manchester have been engaged in several moorland fires. Walkers are advised to take extra care when on moorland and to be extra vigilant to the dangers of fire.”

“The smoke can cause some discomfort to individuals, particularly those that suffer with breathing difficulties. However, the smoke does not pose any long term health issues. We are advising residents in the area to remain indoors and keep all windows closed.”

The Simonswood fire was one of three incidents over the Bank Holiday weekend which saw emergency crews tackling moorland blazes, which Belmont and Bacup also affected by blazes exacerbated by the ongoing spell of hot, dry weather.

Crews from Merseyside, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire have also been involved in tackling the three seperate fires, which have been fanned by winds of up to 45 mph.

Following the three seperate fires in different parts of Lancashire, the fire service’s deputy chief fire officer, Paul Richardson, is urging members of the public to be extra vigilant whilst walking on the moors.

“We are advising members of the public who are out on the moors during this period of hot and dry weather to take extra care and be vigilant. With strong winds, fires can move across the moors quickly, putting walkers in danger without giving them any warning. We are also urging all smokers to make sure that they discard their smoking materials safely and responsibly,” he said.

“”Whilst the smoke will cause no long-term health effects, people with breathing difficulties in South and West Lancashire are advised to keep their windows and doors shut.“

The cause of the blaze at Simonswood is unknown at this time although it is not thought to be suspicious. It was later extinguished using several of the fire service’s hose reels and earth-moving machinery which belonged to White Moss Horticultural, the site’s owners.

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