Firefighters tackled large wildfire near Cogra Moss reservoir

Firefighters tackled large wildfire near Cogra Moss reservoir

A large wildfire which broke out near a reservoir in Cumbria on Saturday has been extinguished after burning for 27 hours.

The blaze, which began near Cogra Moss, Lamplugh, has “devastated” a large area, firefighters said.

Assistant chief fire officer John Walkden said winds of up to 70mph carried the blaze across about eight square miles (20sq/km).

Cumbria Police is investigating the cause of the fire.

Mr Walkden said the service was called at about 11:00 GMT on Saturday and were on site until 23:00 when the decision was taken to withdraw for the night due to the dangerous terrain, darkness and fire’s ferocity.

Firefighters returned at first light on Sunday having estimated where they thought the fire would spread to, which they got “100% right”, Mr Walkden said, as they managed to stop it getting into a large plantation.

He said: “Having a wildfire in February certainly demonstrates how extremely sensitive these environments are to fire.

“Even though we are in the middle of winter, the grass and the gorse and surrounding vegetation in these fells are still really sensitive and dry.”

Mr Walkden said the wind had caused the fire to “jump” creating a “patchwork quilt affect” of damage.

“It’s not pretty to look at by any means,” he said, adding: “It’s had a devastating effect on the area.

“It’s not what we want to see in the Lakes.”

Farmers, some of whom have up to 1,000 cattle, were kept informed of the fire’s progress and were warned they could be evacuated if it got too close, Mr Walkden said.

He said it is not known yet how the blaze started but he urged people not to start fires in the wilderness.

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