Firefighters praised for their response at wild fire in Prestwick

Firefighters have been praised after battling a wildfire the size of five football pitches in blistering heat at a Newcastle nature reserve.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) confirmed on Wednesday (June 14) that their Fire Control received a call about a wild fire at Prestwick Carr in Newcastle at 1:19pm.

A fire had started in a densely wooded area hard to reach by vehicle, leaving TWFRS firefighters having to walk miles in searing temperatures to tackle it.

At its height, 56 firefighters, two drone pilots, three fire officers, 10 appliances and a High Volume Pump (HVP) were on scene to bring the blaze under control.

Firefighters remained at the scene throughout the night but scaled back their firefighting efforts for firefighter safety due to the poor visibility and light in the area.

Today (Thursday) the Service has released dramatic drone footage showing the scale of the damage to the area – as the officer in charge of the response praised the efforts of those involved.

Area Manager Paul Russell, of TWFRS said: “This is a large wildfire very similar to what we saw last year during the prolonged period of warm weather in August.

“This is a difficult response due to the location of the fire, and the weather but our firefighters have been working tirelessly through the night to keep the fire under control.

“Today we will be stepping up our efforts again to get this fire extinguished and preserve as much of the nature reserve as we can.

“The drone footage we are releasing shows the scale of the damage this fire has caused, and the nature of what we have been faced with since that first emergency call.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank our Fire Control staff, the firefighters and every member of support staff who assisted our response.

“We are really proud of how hard they are working and we hope that the public are reassured that our staff will be there through thick and thin to keep communities safe.

“As you may have seen overnight and this morning, the smoke is still lingering across the city and it has a strong smell of fire.

“We would ask that you keep your window and door closed if you live close by and if you are having breathing difficulties please call 111 or speak to your GP.

“I also want to thank our partner agencies for the support they have shown and the public in the area who were disrupted by the incident and have been patient with us during our response.”

Emergency services will remain in the area today to carry out further enquiries into the circumstances around the fire with a joint investigation underway between TWFRS and Northumbria Police.