Over 150 firefighters from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have tackled major grass fires across the county in the space of 24 hours.
Firefighters were called to a fire at Westley Moor Common on Eaves Lane in Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, at around 2.47pm on 22 April.
A total of 50 firefighters, made up of eight fire engines from Hanley, Burslem, Sandyford, Longton, Newcastle, Kidsgrove, Leek, Stone and Cheadle, along with a number of specialist vehicles, attended the scene at the height of the blaze.
The blaze, started accidentally, has destroyed approximately nine hectacres of moorland. Crews remain at the scene after working throughout the night to dampen down and check for hotspots.
Flames reached two metres high in some areas, driven by strong winds, making the fire extremely difficult to overcome.
It follows another major grass blaze at the Mere Valley area of Cannock Chase on Tuesday evening (21st April) that saw 85 firefighters with specialist equipment tackle the flames which started between Brook Lane and Brock Hill, off Pool Road in Brocton, at around 5pm.
A total of 12 fire engines attended the scene at the height of the blaze which involved a large area of grass land. Fire crews attended from Cannock, Rugeley, Penkridge, Gnosall, Chase Terrace, Eccleshall, Uttoxeter, Abbots Bromley and Rising Brook (Stafford).
Six fire engines remained at Cannock Chase on 22nd April as crews checked for hotspots and dampened down.
Over the last week, crews have used beaters, backpacks and hose reel jets to tackle approximately six other accidental grass fires. Thankfully, they were all quickly extinguished before they escalated into much bigger fires such as the two in Bucknall and Cannock.
Firefighters attended a tree on fire on Shaw Lane in Lichfield, a woodland and bracken fire on Beech Close in Leek, three tonnes of hay on fire on Grange Road in Biddulph, 10 hay bales on fire off the A51 in Rugeley, a bracken fire on Consam Forge in Wetley Rocks and a grass fire on Hooters Hall Road in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Howard Watts said: “All of our crews have worked extremely hard in a 24-hour period in very difficult conditions to extinguish these two major grass fires.
“Fortunately in the case of both fires, we were able to prevent them spreading to a number of nearby properties and managed to get them under control before they really did have a devastating outcome.
“As we start to go into the warmer months, the weather is much dryer and grass fires are a greater risk. Anything from discarding cigarettes to embers from a nearby bonfire can cause a grass fire and lead to a major blaze.
“We’ve unfortunately seen a small number of deliberate fires in grassland too which can just as easily spread and put lives at risk.
“Whilst our resources are busy dealing with incidents such as these, they are not available for other emergencies. Please help us to help you by being extremely mindful and thinking twice about starting a fire.”