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Fires on Salisbury Plain

Date: 12th July, 2022

Update 2pm 19 July

Firefighting operations by DWFRS have now ceased on the Plain. The helicopter dropped 60,000l of water during operations today and the incident has now been closed. There are some small pockets of smouldering which are being left to burn out under the control of MOD. DWFRS have no plans to return to site.

Update 10am 19 July

Firefighters have returned to Salisbury Plain this morning to assess the incident with partners from the MOD. Helicopter operations will resume this morning to dampen down hot spots on the plain. This will be supported by a water carrier and specialist appliance. There is currently very little smoke in the area.

Update 6pm 18 July

Operations on site have finished for the day. Officers will be returning to the incident tomorrow morning and we will be using the helicopter again then. There is currently no smoke plume in the area.

Update 9.30am 18 July

Firefighters have returned to Salisbury Plain this morning to assess the incident with partners from the MOD. Helicopter operations will resume today to dampen down hot spots on the plain. This will be supported by a water carrier and specialist appliance. Please continue to use the following link for public health advice from Wiltshire Council.

Update: 6pm 17 July

Firefighters are back on scene at Salisbury Plain assisting the MOD with firefighting. We are aware that smoke is drifting in a north westerly direction. Please use the following link for public health advice from Wiltshire Council.

Update 08:15 16 July

We are aware that some areas of Salisbury Plain have re-ignited and we are liaising with the MOD.  We are unable to assist at this time as we cannot safely extinguish the fires due to their location but we will continue to monitor the situation.

Update 10:00am 15 July

All areas of fire are now extinguished and FRS support has now been withdrawn and the incident has been handed back to the military to maintain a watching brief.  Approximately 800 hectares of ground have been been extinguished using beaters, main lines and helicopter air support.

Update: 4.20pm 14 July

Firefighters are remaining on scene at Salisbury Plain for the next hour supporting the helicopter operation. Small hotspots are still being extinguished and crews will return to site tomorrow morning to reassess.

Update: 9.30am 14 July

There are some small pockets of fire left in the northern area of the plain. The helicopter is being deployed again this morning to extinguish these small areas of fire and further dampen down any ‘hot spots’ and review the area.

Update: 8.30am 14 July

The helicopter water drop yesterday successfully doused large areas of fire around the impact area, and firefighting continued on site last night until it got dark.

DWFRS resources are back on scene this morning – two water carriers, a small 4×4 appliance and a fire engine – and are providing the water supply to the helicopter, which will be flying again today. Further information on progress should be available this afternoon.

Update: 4pm 13 July

Latest from Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) Facebook page – the fires in the impact area are still burning but are much reduced. DWFRS remain on site and are dampening down where access is permitted.

This afternoon and early evening, a helicopter will be dropping water around the periphery of the impact area. They cannot drop water directly over the impact area as it requires low flying, which would put the crew at risk if unexploded ordnance were to be set off by the heat. More water will be dropped tomorrow and this may continue into Friday. This is unlikely to put the fire out but will assist in containment. Again, we apologise for the inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience.

DWFRS update – we have fire engines from Wimborne and Salisbury, small 4×4 appliances from Christchurch and Wimborne, and water carriers from Poole and Andover on scene. Firefighters are again working with military personnel in areas where it is safe to contain the fires.

Update: 11:45am 13 July

FRS are currently unable to tackle the fire as it continues to burn within the impact area of the Salisbury Plain training area.  Our resources are on standby to attend again and assist should there be  any further fire spread throughout the day.

Update: 8.30am 13 July

FRS resources came away from scene at 10.30pm yesterday, with the MoD maintaining a watching brief through the night. A reinspection is being carried out this morning to see how things are today, where the problem areas are, and what the plan should be.

Click here for public health advice from Wiltshire Council in relation to the smoke.

Update: 4.45pm 12 July

The fires on Salisbury Plain are being brought under control, although the changing wind direction is proving a challenge.

A number of small fires that started yesterday (11 July) merged to become two large fires, one near Enford and one near Urchfont.

Due to the hard work of military personnel, supported by firefighters from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service last night and this afternoon, the fire near Enford is almost extinguished, with damping down continuing.

The larger fire near Urchfont, affecting an area of approx. 1,500m by 5,000m is still well alight, but military personnel and firefighters from DWFRS are on scene and have prevented it from spreading further. A second fire near Urchfont, that has broken out this afternoon, is also being tackled, covering an area of approx. 1,000m by 1,000m.

The fires have all been within the impact area of the Salisbury Plain Training Area, so many locations are unsafe to enter.

The incident remains under the management of the military and DWFRS is liaising closely with them to provide support where it is safe to do so.

See www.facebook.com/HQSalisburyPlainTrainingArea for latest from Defence Infrastructure Organisation.

Update: 9am 12 July

Yesterday (11 July), during the day, the Service was advised by the military that there was a fire on Salisbury Plain, but we were not required to attend as it was within the impact area, and it is not safe for firefighters to go there due to the risk of unexploded ordnance.

Last night, we did have four fire engines and two water carriers at a fire on the Plain near Enford, outside of the impact area. As at 9am this morning (12 July), we have no resources in attendance as the incident is being managed by our colleagues in the military, but we are liaising closely with them and will continue to offer support. If they request it, we may return to the scene if we can safely assist.

We are aware the smoke plume is travelling some distance, towards Swindon, and would encourage residents to keep windows and doors closed to avoid breathing this in.

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