Fire at Ramshaw Rocks

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.

Ramshaw Burn 3  © Mick Ryan/UKC News
Ramshaw Burn 3
© Mick Ryan/UKC News

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.'

Ramshaw Burn 2  © Mick Ryan/UKC News
Ramshaw Burn 2
© Mick Ryan/UKC News

'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).

Ramshaw Burn 4  © Mick Ryan/UKC News
Ramshaw Burn 4
© Mick Ryan/UKC News

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12 Apr, 2011
Smoking materials? I love offical speak.
12 Apr, 2011
Translation; Some moron who decided it was easier to ditch their fag end on the floor than take it home with them
12 Apr, 2011
While fires caused by human carelessness are to be discouraged, burns on heather moorland are part of a perfectly normal cycle of disturbance and secondary succession that create interesting habitat mosaics and increase the biodiversity of an area. For the lovers of the successional underdogs this burned stand may be rapidly recolonised by lichens (Davies & Legg, 2008) and some studies have shown that Golden Plover, Lapwing and Curlew may thrive on burned heather stands (Tharme et al., 2001). Actively trying to prevent any fires on moorlands can also result in a build up of dead woody material which turns the hillside into a tinderbox which, when it inevitably catches, can cause devastatingly large fires.
12 Apr, 2011
True, but not ideal in the middle of nesting season.
12 Apr, 2011
While in the middle of nesting is not ideal, Will is right in that this will not a major disaster and this type of ecosystem will have a certain amount of fire tolerance in it. It will be great chance to see nature at work, as one of my lecturers once told us, Plants just want to grow so leave them too it. Watching the new growth will be fantastic.
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