The Chief Officer of the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service is praising the way his crews tackled a serious blaze in woodland on Tuesday afternoon (12 April).
In total, six fire appliances, two water carriers, the command unit and 40 firefighters were called to Cranmore Avenue in Yarmouth just after 3.30pm after a three-acre area of woodland caught fire. Several calls were made to the control room, many from crews on passing yachts who spotted the flames from The Solent.
Initially, there was concern properties would be at risk, but the quick thinking actions of Crew Manager Darren Bacon and the first crews on scene prevented this from happening. He did this by instructing his crews to set up close to the homes and use water jets to provide a constant protective water barrier in front of the properties while further resources arrived.
Due to the remote location of the incident, and the reduced water pressure, specialist pumps were also used to pump sea water onto the fire.
The blaze was out by 8pm although damping down continued for some time and no properties had been damaged and no one was hurt.
Speaking after the successful operation, Chief Fire Officer Paul Street said “The quick thinking and highly professional actions of our firefighters and commanders that prevented what could have been a very serious incident.
“Our fire crews are highly trained to deal with major incidents just like this and their actions ensured no one was put at risk and neither were any properties, which were initially in danger and I praise the way they handled it.
“We have had dry weather recently which no doubt contributed to the size of the blaze and a full investigation will be carried out to determine how the fire started, although initial investigations suggest this may have been an accident.”
Paul Street also highlighted that this incident demonstrated the importance of the improved resilience of the Island’s Fire and Rescue Service since implementing the fire modernisation programme, part of which includes more full-time firefighters on duty at any one time.
The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service have advice regarding fire safety during the summer months available at www.iwfire.org.