Firefighters' plea for public's help to stop Shropshire wildfires after discarded cigarettes cause major blaze

A massive fire in a wooded area in north Shropshire is believed to have been caused by discarded smoking materials.

Charred remains of the woodland area. Photo: Market Drayton Fire Station
Charred remains of the woodland area. Photo: Market Drayton Fire Station

Firefighters were scrambled from Market Drayton station to a fire in the open at Norton-in-Hales near Market Drayton on Tuesday afternoon.

It soon became clear that the fire in 100m by 50m of woodland was too big for the firefighters to cope with on their own, and they had to call for assistance from across the county.

The water carrier from Bridgnorth was used to ferry 9,000 litres of water to the scene from a hydrant about two miles away from the incident.

A water carrier was used to carry 9,000 litres from two miles away. Photo: Market Drayton Fire Station

A spokesman for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said: ’The cause of the fire is believed to have been from discarded smoking materials.

"Please can we ask that during these extremely dry and hot conditions, that you not not dispose of any smoking materials in the open, have open fires or use disposable BBQs on grassland.

"In the current tinder dry conditions, the slightest spark or naked flame can cause a major wildfire."

Trees and grassland caught fire. Photo: Market Drayton Fire Station

During the incident a fire crew was sent from Shrewsbury to Market Drayton to cover the town.

The spokesman added: "Through the hard work of all the crews in punishing temperatures, the fire was contained to an area of woodland, grass and undergrowth measuring approximately 100m x 50m.

"The crews were committed at the scene for approximately four hours damping down and checking for hotspots.

"Whilst the crews were committed dealing with the incident, an appliance from Shrewsbury, was mobilised to standby at Market Drayton to provide strategic fire cover in the area."

Fire fighters on scene. Photo: Market Drayton Fire Station

The fire service said that on arrival at the scene the crews found a fire involving a large area of woodland, grass and undergrowth.

"The crew quickly set about attempting to prevent the fire spreading, by utilising a high pressure hose reel jet and a high pressure lance from the incident support unit.

"Due to the size of the fire, the remote location and the need for large quantities of water for firefighting, the Incident Commander sent an assistance message to fire control of “Make Pumps 3”, indicating that a further two major appliances were required at the scene."

Fire control scrambled rescue pumps from Whitchurch and Wem, along with an operations officer from headquarters.

On arrival at the incident the Whitchurch and Wem crews assisted in carrying out firefighting, using high pressure hose reel jets, main jets and a high pressure lance.

A further assistance message was transmitted of “Make incident support units two and water carrier required”.

This resulted in the ISU from Newport and the water carrier from Bridgnorth being mobilised.

Market Drayton Fire Station praised its colleagues across the county on its Facebook page.

"Massive thanks to our colleagues from Whitchurch Fire Station, Wem, Newport and Bridgnorth Fire Station for their assistance at the incident, as always great teamwork," they said.

They added: "Thanks also to our fire control staff, who have been working hard this last week, dealing with a significant increase in the amount of 999 calls being received, and in deploying resources quickly and effectively.

"Lastly big thanks to our Technical Services department, who ensure we have all the equipment, PPE and bottled drinking water to allow the crews to work effectively at incidents."

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