South Yorkshire’s firefighters have a new weapon to help them tackle moorland wildfires – off road vehicles.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has added two Polaris vehicles to its fleet, helping crews to respond more effectively to wildfires and other incidents, which might be hard to reach using a traditional fire appliance.
The vehicles are to be fitted with water pumps, which can be taken off and used to douse flames at the frontline of a large fire on moor or grass land.
Fire crews will spend the next few months being trained in their use, before the vehicles are made available to attend incidents right across South Yorkshire. The vehicles will be based at Thorne fire station in Doncaster and Rivelin fire station in Sheffield.
Station Manager Mike Anthony said, “We’re always committed to giving frontline firefighters the best possible kit to help them do their jobs effectively. We believe these vehicles will become incredibly versatile additions to our fleet, enhancing our ability to deal with challenging incidents on tough terrain, as well as a wide variety of other incident types.”
The investment is part of a bigger effort to enhance the service’s ability to respond to moorland wildfires, including additional welfare support and extra training for crews. Last year, firefighters spent several weeks tackling a deep-seated fire on peat moorland in Thorne and Hatfield. The site of special scientific interest was home to several rare and endangered species.
As the weather warms up and the country unlocks, firefighters are once more urging the public to play their part in preventing moorland fires. Their advice includes never having BBQs in open countryside or parkland, discarding of cigarettes carefully and taking your rubbish with you as glass bottles can magnify the sun’s rays starting fires.