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Firefighters tackling moorland fire on The Roaches thank public for 'overwhelming' support

Firefighters tackling a major moorland fire on The Roaches have thanked all those who have offered help and support.

Crews from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, helped by colleagues from Derbyshire, have been at the scene of the fire since Thursday afternoon

The figure of a firefighter stands out against a backdrop of burning moorland at the Roaches. Photo - Jason Chadwick

The figure of a firefighter stands out against a backdrop of burning moorland at the Roaches. Photo - Jason Chadwick

Huge moorland fire at The Roaches continues to burn as public warned to stay away
The blaze has destroyed approximately 80 to 90 hectares of woodland and heath and firefighters have been facing some difficult weather conditions, including heavy rain and wind, while tackling it.

Dermot Hogan, Group Manager with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "While the rain over the weekend was of some help it cannot extinguish the fire, which is very deep seated due to the peat soil in the area.

Pictures and video show large moorland fire on The Roaches
"The top layer smokes but even when that is dampened the peat underneath continues to smoulder, meaning there is the potential for it to reignite.

"This is why it is likely we will remain at the incident for sometime, as there is so much land to cover, firefighters must first use a strong jet of water to reach the peat underneath the surface and then spray the area to ensure that patch is fully extinguished.

"The main issue has been and continues to be the changeable winds which have caused the fire to spread.

Urgent warning issued after members of the public try to walk through large moorland blaze on The Roaches
"Colleagues from the Peak District National Park and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust arranged for a tractor unit with a flail mower to create a fire break in the land, which has stopped further spread.

"Thankfully only a small number of of homes were evacuated on Thursday and we have worked hard to protect them from the fire. Thankfully it's now safe enough for us to allow those residents to return home.

"The main ridge and surrounding pathways are still very much off limits for walkers and climbers, this will be the case for the next few days but we'll continue to reassess this and update the public when the area is safe to use again.

"We'd like to thank the public for their overwhelming messages of support and the generous donations of food and drink that have been made - we've had over 20 donations, along with local food outlets and businesses helping to provide refreshments for crews.

"Thank you also to the Winking Man pub who have let us use their car park as a base, a local hall which opened so firefighters could take rest intervals during the night and other local venues that have provided food and welfare facilities to our crews. Our firefighters have also been catered for by Rapid Relief who have done a fantastic job.

"We are also very appreciative of the incredible support from our partners, who have been essential in the response to this incident. They've provided vehicles and specialist resources who have in-depth knowledge of the area."

Video by Rod Kirkpatrick/F Stop Press. Photos - Jason Chadwick.