FIREFIGHTERS REMAIN AT ALTON WOODLAND FIRE
Firefighters from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service continue to tackle a woodland fire in Alton.
The Service was called to Red Road at 3.34pm on Monday July 2 to reports of a fire in the valley near the disused railway.
Initially crews from Loggerheads, Uttoxeter, Burton-on-Trent, Barton-under-Needwood and Kidsgrove attended, followed by a specialist welfare support vehicle and various other crews throughout the evening and overnight.
Station Manager Dan Keeling said:
“This fire was a fast spreading blaze and the crews have worked in partnership with the Forestry Commission in order to deal with the incident.
“The prolonged hot and dry weather has created the ideal conditions for fire, which combined with the wind conditions last night and the steep terrain, resulted in a very challenging incident for firefighters. The incident was separated into three sectors, with teams of firefighters working to surround the fire with hose reel jets.
“Four appliances from Hanley, Chase Terrace, Ipstone and Newcastle, along with the High Volume Pump from Rugeley, remain at this incident today (Tuesday), with main jets in use to dampen down the fire.
“We’ve made good progress in tackling the fire. However, crews will remain at the scene monitoring for hotspots and damping down for some time. Red Road is now open and members of the public can access Dimmingsdale but are asked to avoid the immediate area of the fire while our firefighting activity is ongoing.”
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Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is continuing to tackle two large scale woodland fires in the Moorlands and in Alton and thanks the community and partners for their ongoing help.
Crews were called to the Moorlands, near the Mermaid pub, at 5.16pm on Saturday, June 30 and at the height of the incident there were seven fire engines plus specialist appliances in attendance. There are now four engines at the scene and the crews are working closely with Severn Trent who have donated staff and water bowsers to aid the Service.
The fire at Alton is also still ongoing and currently has four engines at the scene after the Service was called at 3.24pm on Monday, July 2.
The firefighters have faced extremely difficult circumstances due to the changing wind direction and the heat. The crews have worked over and beyond their hours in order to deal with these fires.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rob Barber said:
“We would really like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us through these incidents. Many of our retained staff have worked beyond their hours alongside their normal jobs. We are very grateful to the businesses who have allowed their staff who are retained firefighters to continue to work at the incident.
“The Service also would like to thank Severn Trent who have donated personnel and water bowsers who have undoubtedly been instrumental in getting these incidents under control alongside the Peak District Rangers and some local farmers who have supported us during the fires.
“The British Red Cross and Rapid Relief have been on hand to maintain the welfare of our firefighters throughout the last few days. Without their support out firefighters would not have been able to continue their work through the long hours necessary to tackle these fires.”
Wayne Earp from Severn Trent said:
“We were delighted to help the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service today in the important work that they’re doing fight the fires on the Staffordshire Moorlands. Due to the high demand as a result of the hot weather we were able to offer our 28,000 litre tanker to support the fire services’ tanker fleet.
“We’ll continue to support the fire service as long as they need us.”
The smoke plume has now died down at both of these incidents but the Service still asks residents to follow the smoke advice which has been issued throughout these ongoing fires.
Dr David Kirrage, lead Health Protection Consultant with Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands, said:
“Substances in smoke can worsen health problems like asthma and heart conditions, so people in affected areas should carry their medication. Smoke can irritate airways, skin, eyes, and cause coughing and wheezing, breathlessness and chest pain. If anyone has these symptoms as a result of being in areas affected by the smoke, they should seek medical advice from their GP or NHS111.”
Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said:
“A number of roads still remain closed in the area following the incident to allow the Fire Service to continue their work to put the fire out. I would ask motorists who do need to travel in the area to please observe the closures and use alternative routes where possible. It has also been necessary to temporarily close a number of public paths near to the site to keep people safe, so once again we are urging people not to visit the area.”