Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bracknell Forest Fires

Members of the public are being urged to stay away from the area to allow for emergency services personnel to continue working together to tackle the fires. People must not impede firefighters in their work and should be aware that the travel of both fire and smoke can change unexpectedly.

The fires are not at a stage where the fire authority are confident that matters are under control.
There are 16 fire tenders still on site out of 22 available to them. Fire crews have come in from Surrey, London and Hampshire.
They also provide the backfill cover for the appliances in use so the fire risk to the general public is not being compromised.
Even so, the situation continues to be serious.
The wind direction puts Crowthorne downwind and at greatest risk.
The houses in Brookers Row were evacuated last night due to fire risk and seem likely to remain so tonight.
There is limited access for residents to return to get possessions etc.

The fire authority asked for the schools in Crowthorne to be closed today.
They were closed because of the high level of smoke around this morning as well as concerns about road traffic and the problems that would have been caused if an evacuation was needed during the day.

The Look Out was closed because it provides the point of access to the woods and was at risk if the wind had turned.
Coral Reef was closed for much the same reason.
With Coral Reef the thinking is that access might be possible there is way to control access to the car park for users only.
The council is looking at this as a possibility.

The situation is now being managed by the Fire Authority from their Silver Command by the Golden Retriever pub on Nine Mile Ride.
There are problems with the public going on site generally and messages are being put out via comms asking people to stay away.
Despite this, there are still joggers going into the woods for example.

Decisions as to whether or not the schools should open tomorrow can't be taken yet.
The schools will be informed that they may have to be closed again and the message will need to go out as we do closures due to the snow.
The low temperatures forecast tonight could mean that there will be a temperature inversion and the smoke will hang around unless the wind keeps blowing.

The Councils Adult Social Care have made checks on the vulnerable residents in the community who might be affected and we are in liaison with the HPA.

The main roads (Foresters Way and Nine Mile Ride) need to stay closed to facilitate access for the emergency services and to enable them to pump water around using hoses along the roads.
There have been some problems with the public ignoring the closures.
There are additional barriers in place and the main points have Police in attendance.
At the moment it seems that the roads will need to stay closed for at least another 24 hours, perhaps longer.

This afternoon the forestry commission are bringing in plant to construct more fire breaks across the woods to reduce the risk of fire spread.

Council Website News

See also:
BBC News

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