Fire crews tackled a large blaze in Cheadle overnight which has now been brought under control, with officers emphasizing the dangers posed by wildfires in urban areas.
They were initially called at 5.45pm yesterday (Monday 26 April) to reports of a fire on a large area of land off Park Lane. Two separate sectors were identified as being alight – with a third later breaking out also - and one crew from Tutbury and another from Burslem began using backpacks and beaters to fight the first blaze.
They were joined by crews from Rugeley, Hanley, Uttoxeter, Biddulph, Kidsgrove, Longnor, Rising Brook, Cheadle, Burton-on-Trent, Brewood, Barton-under-Needwood and Wombourne throughout the night, as well as the Ranger from Brewood, the Welfare Vehicle from Rugeley, and the Unimog from Cannock.
There had been worries throughout the night that the fire was getting too close to properties nearby however through the hard work of the operational crews they managed to keep control of the blaze and stop it from spreading too near to them, as well as the Severn Trent Water works.
By 12.50am today (Tuesday 27 April) appliances were able to be reduced to five as the fire continued to be brought under control. Relief pumping was continuing at this time.
By 4.50am, sector one of the blaze was identified as extinguished and sector two soon followed, with damping down continuing to take place as any remaining hotspots were sought out. The third sector of the fire had broken out by this point and was being kept under control by other remaining crews. This had largely been brought under control by 5.40am.
The fire was extinguished by about 7.55am and crews have remained at the site throughout this morning continuing inspections and temperature checks on the three affected areas.
The cause of the fire has been found to be deliberate ignition. Rob Barber, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “These deliberate fires put people and property in danger and are devastating to the local amenity. They place additional strains onto our operational resources and tie crews up for considerable amounts of time, meaning that they are not available to respond to other incidents should they occur.
“We want people to enjoy the countryside and be respectful of others and the environment while enjoying our county.”
Staffordshire Police and crews from Highways were both asked to attend to manage road closures from yesterday evening and throughout the night so that Staffordshire Fire and Rescue crews could use hydrants in the area to tackle the flames. High Street in particular in Cheadle spent a long time closed off, as were other streets surrounding Cheadle Park as the blaze continued to burn.
Investigations into the deliberate ignition are continuing alongside Staffordshire Police.