The Forestry Commission is taking part in one of the biggest wildfire exercises ever held in northern England on Thursday 11 October.
A full scale training exercise is being led by County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service in Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland, with the assistance and involvement of forest chiefs, the Environment Agency and several other fire and rescue services from across the UK.
Parts of the forest will be off-limits to the public on the day as fire fighters and appliances will be using forest roads as part of an imaginary scenario involving a grass fire at one of the highest points of the 2,000 hectare (5,000 acre) County Durham beauty spot. High pressure water pumps are also being deployed and people are asked to obey signs and be aware a major exercise is underway.
Mark Child, from the Forestry Commission, explained:
“This is a very important exercise and we hope the public will understand the need for us to close off parts of the forest and rehearse these vital emergency procedures. The exercise will give fire crews and other agencies from across the UK experience of using the latest fire fighting techniques and equipment.”
Although wildfires are less common in the UK than some hotter countries they still pose a risk especially during periods of drought.