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Inadequate Firefighting Capacity Claimed As Thursley Wildfire Brought Under Control

Published on: 2 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 3 Jun, 2020

A firefighter tackling the Thursley common wildfire. Picture Surrey Fire & Rescue Service

By Martin Giles

The wildfire at Thursley Common has been brought under control by firefighters as they spend the fourth day of the incident patrolling the site.

Fire appliances and crews have now been scaled back as the area still affected shrinks and the threat decreases.

Dan Quin, deputy chief fire officer for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) giving an update on the next steps, said: “We’re now in a situation where we need to ensure Thursley Common is safe and no longer a threat to reignite. We’re in contact with local stakeholders, including Thursley Parish Council and will consider reopening the site when we feel it’s safe to do so.

“Our firefighters, control staff and partners have worked tremendously in response to this incident. May 2020 became the sunniest calendar month on record and while that brings good news during a period of difficulty, it also highlights another safety warning.

“Areas will be dryer than usual, and we would urge residents to do everything they can to help us prevent wildfires in Surrey.”

Approximately 40 firefighters, working on a rotational basis, were deployed to fight the large wildfire.

Firefighters crewing four Unimog fire appliances, four Land Rover wildfire units, one high volume pump, water carriers, and command support personnel attended the blaze which covered approximately 150 hectares.

But claims were made on social media that Surrey’s Fire & Rescue Service was stretched to the limit. On Sunday evening Woking Fire Station published on its Facebook page:

Other unofficial statements claimed the situation was even worse. “Esher fire station unofficial” posted on their FB page: “We currently have a 10 pump house fire in Chertsey, this combined with the Thursley common fire means that, despite asking for help from multiple brigades, Surrey FRS is completely decimated!!”

“…They have already forced through cutting the 2nd pump at every 2 pump station at night, can you imagine how stretched our firefighters will be if they force through the rest of their ridiculous cuts!”

SFRS also gave this advice on how to help prevent wildfires:

  • Refrain from using disposable barbecues, especially in dry public places.
  • If you smoke, discard cigarettes correctly – not on the ground.
  • Don’t start campfires or bonfires.
  • Discard rubbish appropriately and be mindful that reflective materials can cause ignitions.
  • Don’t burn off garden rubbish.
  • Do not try and tackle a fire yourself, always call 999.

See also:

Wildfire Ravages Thursley Common, Drivers Warned of Smoke Hazard and

Financial Cuts Not Being Made to Fire Service, Says Councillor Responding to Criticism

 

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