Experts help tackle blaze

WILDFIRE experts from Northumberland were deployed to Berkshire to help tackle a raging forest blaze.

Watch Manager Andy Davison and firefighter Bruce Hardy from the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service attended the serious wildfire in Swinley Forest last week.

The pair used experience gained in South Africa, Spain and Greece, as well as from working with land managers and gamekeepers in the Northumberland fire group, to support the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, which was facing its biggest ever incident.

At its peak, there were 40 fire engines, up to 200 firefighters, ten high volume pumps and numerous specialist vehicles deployed to deal with the blaze, which covered a massive 300 hectares.

Several major roads were closed, some for up to eight days, and three schools were closed for two days.

Twelve rescue services were involved in the emergency.

Northumberland Acting Chief Fire Officer Alex Bennett said: “In Northumberland we take a particular interest in wildfire given the terrain that we cover in the county.

“We were keen to assist Berkshire and Andy and Bruce had the expertise to help tackle this incident.”