Five-day fire finally looks to be ending

Firefighters and staff have been praised for their tireless work to keep the community safe after a fire at a Site of Special Scientific Interest in Newcastle enters its fifth day of burning.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) confirmed on Wednesday (June 14) that their Fire Control received a call about a wildfire at Prestwick Carr in Newcastle at 1319 hours.

A fire had started in a densely wooded area hard to reach by vehicles, leaving TWFRS firefighters having to walk can carry equipment over significant distances 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.

Days of blistering heat made the fire incredibly tough to extinguish, however a substantial amount of overnight rain (Sunday 18th June) has helped contribute towards bringing the incident towards a conclusion.

TWFRS expect to be at scene for the rest of today (Monday 19th June) but wanted to remind residents and visitors who walk around and near to the site, that their actions can have consequences.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Lynsey McVay has praised firefighters and staff across TWFRS for their hard work and dedication over the last five days.

She said: “I want to say a huge thank you to our firefighters, duty officers, service-wide staff and fire control for their continued hard work and invaluable support over the last five days whilst we’ve been battling this fire.

“It has been a tough incident but each day I’ve been incredibly humbled by the actions of our staff to keep going in the face of adversity.

“We’ve received support from our partners across the region including the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, as well as, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police and NEAS which has been crucial during such a difficult incident.

“I also want to thank the local residents and businesses for their understanding and cooperation during this time.

“I know the wildfire has caused a great deal of disruption and inconvenience in the local area, and I appreciate your patience and ongoing support as we work to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.

“There will be a presence on the site for another day or so whilst we work towards handing the site over to the Ministry of Defence who are the owners of the land and nearby residents may continue to smell smoke for a few days, but there is no reason to be concerned.

“This is just the beginning of the summer season, the weather will always play its part in wildfires but the actions of the public can also help prevent these incidents.

“If you are going to visit the countryside or the beach over the summer, please take a picnic rather than a BBQ it’s so much safer, and please remember to take your rubbish with you.”

The cause of this fire is not yet known at this time, but the Service have previously offered advice to the public to prevent wildfires.

During the hot weather, they have asked the public not to use disposable BBQs in open spaces, and to make sure they are fully out before placing them in a bin or leaving them unattended.

They have also asked the public not to start bonfires, to dispose of rubbish and do not leave rubbish, particularly glass bottles, in fields or parks.

People have also been urged not to leave litter in fields as materials like glass can start fires as they magnify the sun’s rays.

Anyone with information on deliberate fire setting can call FireStoppers on 0800 169 5558 or via their website.