Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Fires rage on despite rainfall

Firefighters are still tackling fires that broke out in the Swinley Forest near Crowthorne, Berkshire earlier this week
Firefighters are working round-the-clock to contain fires in the Swinley Forest near Crowthorne, Berkshire

Heathland fires have continued in parts of the country after rainfall failed to extinguish the flames.

Some 60 firefighters hosed down burning moorlands in Lancashire, where Thursday's rainfall had made few inroads.

A Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "The rain wasn't very long in duration. It wasn't a downpour for any length of time, it was a light shower over a short period of time and it hasn't penetrated deep enough, so basically the job still continues."

Eight blazes raged on over a six square-mile area at Belmont, while another one was tackled at Simonswood.

But more rain showers and thunderstorms were expected to lend a helping hand to firefighters battling heathland blazes elsewhere, forecasters said.

Experts have predicted a "Spanish plume" over the weekend, with warm air moving in from Spain and triggering thunderstorms and heavy rain across the country.

This is likely to prove welcome to Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, which is still tackling heathland fires that broke out in the Swinley Forest area earlier in the week. Water has been pumped at high volume from 30 fire engines there as officers continued their round-the-clock efforts to extinguish it.

Police investigating the Swinley Forest fire confirmed on Thursday that they had arrested two youths on suspicion of arson. The 14-year-old boys were released on bail until next month, officers said.

Seven appliances from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service have been sent to tackle an ongoing blaze at Turton, while two teenagers were arrested on suspicion of arson following a large moorland fire near Halifax.

West Yorkshire Police said two males, aged 15 and 16, had been arrested and remained in custody.

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