skip to content

Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Ramshaw Rocks Ravaged by Fire

11/04/2011

Approximately two square miles of heathland caught fire on Saturday night which took 10 crews from Longnor, Ipstones, Leek, Cheadle, Biddulph, Longton, Burslem, Cannock and Buxton over 20 hours to fully extinguish.

"People need to be aware that smoking materials should always be disposed of safely and appropriately. They should not be dropped or thrown into grassland as this can quite easily, as this incident shows, start a serious fire."

Group Manager, Rebecca Bryant

A total of 20 people called to report the fire, which could be soon from some distance, behind the Winking Man on Ramshaw Rocks in Upper Hulme at around 8.10pm.

Firefighters used main and hose reel jets as well as beaters to tackle the fire which is believed to have been started accidentally due to careless disposal of smoking materials.

Group Manager, Rebecca Bryant said: "The fire took hold quickly as the heathland was quite dry following the nice weather recently. The fire spread across approximately two square miles however crews managed to prevent it from spreading to any nearby properties.

"We had crews there until 4.55pm yesterday following several re-inspections to ensure there were no lingering hotspots. Grass fires can continue to burn underground after the visible fire is out and so we used thermal imaging cameras to check for any underground hotspots before leaving the scene.

"This fire has caused serious devastation to the surrounding environment as a large area of the heathland at Ramshaw Rocks has now been destroyed and will take a long time to grow back.
 
"The fire tied up a lot of our resources, throughout the incident a total of 15 crews were required from all over the county. We also had assistance from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and had to enlist the help of specialised rangers to advise us when darkness fell given the dangerous location. A police helicopter was also needed to help with the surveillance of the fire, allowing us to confine it so it could not grow larger.

"People need to be aware that smoking materials should always be disposed of safely and appropriately. They should not be dropped or thrown into grassland as this can quite easily, as this incident shows, start a serious fire."