Moorland Fires Update

Firefighters from a large number of fire and rescue services across the UK are working together to support the moorland fires in both Greater Manchester and Lancashire. There are more than 100 firefighters with specialist teams in attendance which has led to a slow but significant improvement at the scenes.

Firefighters from Northumberland, Merseyside, Derbyshire, Cumbria, South Wales, West Midlands, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Humberside, North Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and Lancashire fire and rescue services are all in attendance. The huge FRS response to the incidents has also involved specialist national resilience assets including specialist response vehicles, appliances, 4 x 4 vehicles, Enhanced Logistical Support and high volume pumps and air response assets.

Good progress is being made and the fires are under control, but are across multiple sites. Weather conditions currently mean the wind is not directing the fire towards the moorland. It has affected tens of square miles of burnt moorland and is many miles in length. There is a third blaze in Staffordshire which has a National Resilience High Volume Pump in attendance.

The wildfire capability is a developing response within the National Resilience capabilities and currently consists of tactical advisers from Lancashire, Merseyside and Northumberland who have attended both counties. In addition, there are NFCC Tac Ad colleagues from Merseyside and South Wales. This has also included a specialist suppression team from South Wales, equipped with four by fours and Polaris all-terrain capability.

‘Defensive burning’ has been utilised which created brakes to help stop the fire. The situation remains challenging and it is likely firefighters will be in attendance for a number of days, with the possibility of it extending into weeks.

The response from fire and rescue services across the country has been incredible

Roy Wilsher

Tactical advisers from the National Fire Chiefs Council specialist wildfire group are also in attendance, and offering expertise to Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s and Lancashire FRS incident command team. This includes both professional and operational assistance. National Resilience also have an Enhances Logistic Support (ELS) capability in attendance in Lancashire to assist with the coordination of the assets from supporting FRS.

In line with NFCC’s national resilience plans, fire and rescue services from across the country will mobilise to large-scale incidents such as this, to ensure the best technical, firefighting skills, advice and equipment are deployed to the scene.

NFCC is providing regular updates to the Home Office as the incident continues. This helps to ensure there is a ‘real time’ flow of incident directly to the government, including details of tactical plans in place and how they are being reviewed in response to the fire.

Roy Wilsher, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council said: “The response from fire and rescue services across the country has been incredible. An incident of this scale needs a coordinated, joined-up approach; this ensures we have the right people, assets and equipment in place. NR Fire Control in Merseyside is assisting with the coordination of all supporting assets. NFCC is continuing to provide regular updates to the government about the incident.

“I would like to thank everyone who is assisting at the incident, from firefighters, partners and also to the general public who have come together to offer help and assistance.”

Advice from both Lancashire and Manchester Fire and Rescue Service includes ensuring people in the area should be aware of the environment and changing conditions. The public is also being asked to keep access roads and routes free.

NFCC’s Wildfire Group play a full and active role in England and Wales Wildfire Forum (EWWF) and Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWF) groups. It also acts as a consultee on legislation or guidance issued by partners which is relevant to wildfire. It also monitoring weather alerts from the Natural Hazards Partnership and reacts locally to these.

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