Approximately two square miles of heathland caught fire on Saturday night at Ramshaw Rocks in the Staffordshire Peak District. The blaze took 15 fire crews over 20 hours to fully extinguish.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service 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 on Sunday 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... 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.'
The fire is believed to have started accidentally due to the careless disposal of smoking materials.
'People need to be aware that smoking materials should always be disposed of safely and appropriately' says Bryant. 'They should not be dropped or thrown into grassland as this can quite easily start a serious fire, as this incident shows.'
The climbing on Ramshaw Rocks is unaffected, as the fire's spread was stopped by the path (see photos).