Controlled Burn In Formby

29th January 2015

Controlled Burn Of Gorse In Formby

Firefighters will joined  The Wildlife Trust during a controlled burn exercise on Freshfield Dune Heath in Formby.

The Wildlife Trust will carry out a controlled burn of two hectares of gorse, at a site that is not accessible to the public, as part of its conservation work.

A fire crew from Formby Community Fire Station will carry out a training exercise on tackling wildfire.

Firefighters will use this as an opportunity to enhance their tactics in tackling wildfires and improve their knowledge of the area in the event of a fire.

The controlled burn will take place at around 11am on Wednesday, February 4 and is being carried out to reduce the gorse to increase wildlife into that section of land.

It is the first time The Wildlife Trust has carried out a controlled burn at this location.

Fiona Whitfield, Conservation Officer North Merseyside at The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, said: “It is the first time we have carried out a controlled burn in this area.

“The specific area where the controlled burn will be carried out is of low biological interest. It will not cause a danger to any wildlife in that area. However the aim is to increase wildlife into that section of land.”

A fire appliance from Formby Community Fire Station will be at the scene and the exercise is expected to last throughout the day.

Crew Manager Rob Laisney, of Formby Community Fire Station, said: “The exercise will enable firefighters to test a range of techniques in how they tackle wildfires and will also increase their awareness of the land.

“Although wildfires are not common in Merseyside, firefighters can be regularly called out to fires in open areas during dry spells in spring and summer.

“There was a wildfire in Formby Pinewoods in 2006, which burned for more than a week and 100 appliances were required to tackle the fire. Training is important in ensuring firefighters are equipped to deal with such incidents.”

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has set up the Sefton Coast Wildfire Group, which is a partnership aimed at protecting the coastline from wildfire. The partners of the group include MF&RS, The Wildlife Trust, The Mersey Forest, Natural England, Sefton Council, National Trust, Altcar Training Camp, Formby Golf Club, Royal Birkdale Golf Club and Shorrocks Hill.

The group has been working on a Fire Plan that would provide firefighters with valuable information about the sites along the coast between Crosby and Southport, such as access routes, water supplies, types of vegetation and risks to wildlife, as the area contains important sites for nature and wildlife.

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