Longstanding Peak District volunteer on fire-fighting frontline
27 July 2018
The embers of burning flames that have ripped across the moorlands of the Peak District National Park and South Pennines throughout June and July are now in-hand, with fire crews and volunteers gradually stepping down for a very well deserved rest.
As conservation staff start to assess the scale of the damage across more than 20 moorland sites, fire and rescue personnel are scaling back the fire-fighting mission, after tackling flames in blazing heat for 24 hours a day, during the last few weeks.
Denzil Broadhurst, a Moors for the Future Partnership staff member, has been supporting local services in their mission to extinguish these devastating fires; volunteering with Oldham Mountain Rescue Team, and our partners, the RSPB at Dove Stone.
He said: “In my mountain rescue capacity, I’ve been on-hand providing first aid cover for the firefighters who’ve worked so incredibly hard in such difficult conditions. The team provided transport for specialist fire-fighting equipment, and refreshments for personnel on the ground, as well as making sure they get to and from site safely. We were also on hand to offer access advice and knowledge of the local area where needed.
“For both my volunteering roles, I’ve been involved in helping to extinguish flames at small ‘hot spots,’ using shovels to dig up burning peat and then water backpacks known as ‘Scotty packs’ to stop the burning. We’ve also used an eight-wheel buggy-style vehicle called an ArgoCat to carry and pump 400 litres of water onto the moors.
“It’s been a long, hard task for everyone involved, with volunteers giving hundreds of hours of their time to support the mission. The mountain rescue service personnel were operating a shift pattern to provide 24-hour support.”
Denzil has been a dedicated volunteer with the mountain rescue service for nearly 30 years and has supported work at Dove Stone reservoir for seven years. He’s been a member of the Moors for the Future Partnership staff team since 2014, after seeing positions advertised via his volunteer role at Dove Stone. He helps with our helicopter operations during the busy winter months when we’re working to get plants and materials up onto the moors for our conservation to take place.
The risk of wildfires across the Peak District National Park and South Pennines remains high, especially as the hot, dry weather is set to continue. Please be mindful when heading out and about, by not lighting barbeques, campfires or cigarettes on or near to the moors; and taking your litter home with you.
A wildfire fund has been launched to support fire prevention messages, volunteer costs and restoration work: donate here.