Team attends eighth meeting of the Lancashire Fire Operations Group – LFOG

Meeting at 08.00hrs at our GMFRS Bolton Central Community Fire Station garage this morning, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, Equipment Officer – Ropes and Stretchers Nigel Booth (In full time, a GMFRS Watch Commander at Bolton North Community Fire Station) and Trainee team member Heath Doran, journeyed to the Flookborough, Cumbria, Base / Headquarters of Bay Search and Rescue for the eighth meeting of the Lancashire Fire Operations Group.

This group as regular readers will remember, serves to bring all those who would be involved in wildfire fire fighting operations in Lancashire, together under the direction of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

Arriving at 10.00hrs, after Nigel’s inaugural ‘training drive’ in our Incident Control Vehicle, all present were warmly welcomed by Gary Parsons of Bay SAR, with tea and biscuits to hand.

A large number of organisations as usual were present, including Liam Wilson, Steve Turner, Martin Sherwood and Neil Hardiman, all of LFRS, Gary Parsons and three others from Bay SAR, Bio Diversity Officers Ian Harper and Pete Wilson from United Utilities, Head Ranger Andrew Greenwood from LCC, Coast and Countryside Ranger, Wyre Council, Greg Robinson, and Julian Earnshaw from Bowland Pennine MRT. (LFRS Martin Sherwood, like our Nigel Booth, also wears ‘two hats,’ being a member of BPMRT)

A very productive meeting followed, including much reference to two recent fires, one on Smithills Moor, Winter Hill (see our ‘news’ report dated Thursday 11th June 2015, Incident 47) and another on Darwen Moor.

Agenda topics also covered the latest updates on new equipment being trialled by LFRS / GMFRS for wildfires, including Leaf blowers and Water induction Leaf blowers – very effective, but the right kind of water has to be used! (clean filtered water)

Drone usage, farm surveys for water and access, communications on incidents, mutual aid, wildfire prediction, latest resources available, training days, and informing the public / public reporting of wildfires were all covered in the meeting up to 12 noon.

Lunch then followed, kindly provided by Bay SAR, and then all present had the opportunity for a trip out on to Morecambe Bay in one of three in service, of Bay SARs unique Hagglund BV206 all terrain amphibious tracked vehicles (‘Webmaster‘ our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE still yearns for one of these, alongside his pet want – a skidoo!)

Garry, Nigel and Heath all rode in the front – slightly more comfortable cab of the double unit Hagglund, and as ever were impressed by its abilities.

Mid afternoon and it was time to leave a very sunny Flookborough, with thanks to Bay SAR for their hospitality and welcoming attitude, and to Liam Wilson of LFRS for his chairing of todays meeting.