A large moorland fire on The Roaches was caused by a camp fire, an investigation has revealed.
Firefighters from Staffordshire, helped by colleagues from Derbyshire, have been at the scene of the fire since around 1.30pm on Thursday August 9.
A fire investigation took place on Wednesday, which found that a camp fire had gotten out of control and spread to the rest of the land.
Firefighters tackling moorland fire on The Roaches thank public for 'overwhelming' support
During the investigation, fire officers found a fire pit which had been created out of rocks. From speaking to local residents it is believed that people had been wild camping in the area and had built a fire. It appears they had made attempts to cover the fire with more rocks to extinguish the fire but sadly this was not enough to prevent it from spreading across the 200 acres of land which has ultimately been destroyed as a result of this incident. During the initial stages of the incident several residents had to be evacuated from their homes for their own safety whilst firefighters tackled the fire.
Pictures and video show large moorland fire on The Roaches
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service's Director of Prevent and Protect Glynn Luznyj said: “Although it is relief that this fire was not started deliberately it is very frustrating that it could have easily been prevented. We always urge people not to start fires in the open especially during weather like we have seen in the last few weeks.
“The heatwave has made everything extremely dry and flammable, which no doubt contributed to the quick spread of this blaze along with the strong winds. This is a stark reminder not to start a fire even if you think you are being extremely careful as it can easily get out of hand. This is also the case for disposable barbecues in the countryside or disposing of cigarettes. Any small spark or ember could lead to a large fire.
“We are expecting to remain at the scene for the next couple of days in order to extinguish the fire completely, a task which has been extremely difficult for firefighters under these conditions.
“We are extremely grateful to all our partners, organisations and members of the public for their ongoing support during this incident.”