Call for a stop to grass fires which cost Wales millions

Grass fire setting acceptability ‘needs stamping out’

09 May 2011

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United Kingdom — WATER company United Utilities has rolled out its secret weapon to tackle moorland fires in Lancashire — all terrain vehicles equipped with high-pressure hoses.

The vehicles, which have 500 litre water tanks, are being used to dampen down ‘hot spots’ on peatland in the Belmont area, following serious fires last week.

Despite rainfall in recent days, United Utilities said there will still pockets of ‘red-hot peat’ which were posing a risk of further fires.

Seventy thousand trees were destroyed as blazes spread across 1,970-acres of moorland and 30 acres of woodland in a series of fires last week across East Lancashire last week.

Calls have been made for preventative measures to be installed to stop the blazes.

United Utilities said the vehicles allowed the fire service to reach remote moorland areas which were impossible to access with traditional engines.

Neville Kidd, United Utilities’ catchment manager in Rivington said: “It’s vitally important we douse these pockets of red-hot peat, as they pose the risk of further fires if the wind gets up again.

“The vehicles are specifically designed to tackle blazes on difficult terrain, which traditional fire engines can’t reach.

“They are equipped with extremely high pressure hoses, which can blast through the peat to tackle the hot spots below the surface.

“They have been working overtime, and are proving a vital line of defence against more blazes.”

United Utilities’ countryside rangers have been working round the clock to assist the fire brigade in tackling moorland and woodland fires.

The firm is reminding the public to play its part in preventing further fire outbreaks, by not carelessley disposing of cigarettes, or lighting campfires or barbeques.

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