Residents of Shrewton and Tilshead have been contacting me regarding concerns of smoke from fires on Salisbury Plain Training Area. I have been busy asking questions and please see the following response below:
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have just released the following information including advice from Public Health England.
Smoke from the on-going fire on the Salisbury Plain impact area has been affecting large parts of West Wiltshire to as far away as Bath in the last 24 hours.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Control room received dozens of 999 calls overnight, and firefighters were mobilised multiple times to incidents where alarm systems were triggered by the smoke.
Unfortunately, because the fire itself is within the live firing range, the Service is unable to tackle the blaze. Over the last two weeks, crews have been called to the Shrewton and Market Lavington areas to prevent the flames from spreading outside of the impact area, but it is unsafe for them to access the main fire. It also can’t be accessed by aircraft carrying water, due to the safety restrictions of the impact zone.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The fire is well within the impact zone, we have fire wardens monitoring the site and, if the flames start to spread outside of that area, we can bring in the Fire and Rescue Service to assist.
“We fully appreciate the inconvenience caused to the communities in and around the Plain. The fire itself is not a risk to property, but we do recognise that the smoke is very unpleasant.”
“The MOD takes the safety of our military personnel and the public seriously and we would like to reassure local residents and others that we are doing everything possible to reduce the risks. We will continue to monitor the situation and share updates.”
Public Health England has advised: “Residents in areas affected by smoke should stay indoors, and keep their doors and windows closed. Motorists who have to travel through the smoke should keep windows closed and switch on air conditioning systems to recycle or recirculate air. If people need to be outdoors, they are advised to avoid areas affected by any smoke or ash, or to limit the time that they spend in them.”
They added: “Smoke can irritate air passages, the skin and the eyes, leading to coughing and wheezing, breathlessness and chest pain. It can also worsen existing problems such as asthma and people with asthma should carry their inhaler with them at all times. Anyone concerned about their symptoms should contact NHS 111.”
The MOD has advised that live firing on Salisbury Plain has been stopped until further notice.
Defence Infrastructure Organisation will continue to post updates via DIO Twitter feed
You can also check air quality levels across Wiltshire on this link.