Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Wood pile alight - PHOTOS

Hoe Lane, Nazeing
31/08/2016 @ 05:23
Incident Number: 14925
In attendance: 1 x Waltham Abbey, 2 x Loughton, 1 x Harlow, 1 x Epping, 1 x Hoddesdon (HFRS), 1 x Cheshunt (HFRS), 1 x Chelmsford (Water Bowser)

Firefighters have been called to a fire involving a pile of wood and wood chips measuring approximately 1500 tonnes.

On arrival crews reported the wood pile is 10 percent alight.

Update 07:45hrs - Crews are using two ground monitors and two main jets to tackle the blaze. 

Photos can be found on our Twitter page here:

Update 08:45hrs - Incident Commander Phil Pidgeon said:

"When crews arrived, the fire was well developed. Firefighters worked hard to establish good water supply using the town's hydrants and a water relay using the Water Bowser.

"Crews are working with onsite personnel to separate the large pile of wood. We are also working with the Environment Agency to minimalise the environmental impact.

"It is expected that we will be here for at least the next 24 hours tackling the fire."

We currently have five fire engines - 2 x Loughton, 1 x Waltham Abbey, 1 x Harlow , 1 x Epping - and one water bowser from Chelmsford.

Update 12:15hrs - We currently have five fire engines - 1 x Braintree, 1 x Saffron Walden, 1 x Orsett, 1 x Harlow, 1 x Great Dunmow - and one water bowser from Halstead at the incident.

Crews are continuing to work with the on-site personnel to separate the wood pile.

Update 15:00hrs - Crews are continuing to work with the on-site personnel to separate the wood which is on fire from the rest of the wood pile. We have five fire engines at the scene - 1 x Witham, 1 x Stansted, 1 x Waltham Abbey, 1 x Great Baddow, 1 x Maldon - and two water bowsers (Halstead and Chelmsford)

This fire is producing alot of smoke, currently the wind is blowing the smoke over areas of fields, but the wind direction can change, so we are advising local residents to close their windows and doors if they are affected by the smoke.

The Incident Commander has requested three fire engines take over at the incident at 7pm.

Update 17:30hrs - The Incident Commander said:

"We currently have five fire engines and two water bowsers at the incident working to tackle the blaze. We are working hard to separate the large wood pile to prevent the fire spreading to the rest of the pile. We are also monitoring the fire and protecting the surrounding risks.

"We are working with the Environment Agency to ensure the environmental impact from this fire is kept to a minimum. Environment Agency officers have been on site and are working directly with fire crews on the ground."

Crews are continuing to tackle the fire using two main jets and two ground jets.

Update 21:00hrs - Four fire engines, one water bowser and one hose layer are currently at the incident tackling the blaze. Firefighters are using two main jets and two ground monitors. 

Fire crews will remain at the incident overnight.


Thursday 1 September

Update 08:00 - Four fire engines (Braintree, Stansted, Waltham Abbey, Great Baddow) are continuing to tackle the blaze in the large pile of wood. It is now estimated the pile measures 15,000 tonnes. Crews are using three main jets and two monitors to pour water onto the fire.

Update 13:00hrs - Incident Commander Kevin Haywood said:

"We currently still have four fire engines at the scene of this incident.

"Our strategy for dealing with the fire is to separate the wood which is not on fire away from the wood which is. We are currently working to move the unaffected wood to a different area in the site. The section which is on fire, is being constantly monitored and is being allowed to burn itself out safely.

"We will continue to work closely with the Environment Agency to ensure the environmental impact from this fire is kept to a minimum.

"The controlled burn is expected to last for at least a week. We will maintain a presence at the site to ensure the fire   doesn’t spread and monitor and contain it as it burns.”

"Hoe Lane has been closed for the safety of our crews and so we can use the fire hydrants in the road."


Friday 2 September

Update 08:00hrs - Four fire engines remain at the scene throughout the day continuing to monitor the burn and move the unaffected wood away.

Four fire engines will remain at the incident during the day - each crew will be changed every four hours. There will only be three fire engines needed overnight as it is too dark to continue using the diggers and separate the pile.


Saturday 3 September 

Update 08:00hrs - Three fire engines worked throughout the night monitoring the controlled burn. Four fire engines will take over at 10am to continue monitoring the burn and help move the unaffected wood away from the fire.


Sunday 4 September

Update 17:00hrs - Firefighters are still working at the scene of this fire. Unaffected wood chips are being moved away from the fire to stop it spreading any further.


Monday 5 September

DO Mark Samuels, who is overseeing the incident said:

"The fire in Hoe Lane, Nazeing has now been burning for five days. The fire, which started at 5:30am last Wednesday (31 August) has reduced significantly since it began, but it is now estimated to involve approximately 50,000 tonnes of wood and wood chippings.

"When we first arrived on site, we worked to make sure the fire would not spread to any nearby buildings. We also started to work to create space around the entire fire so the pile is contained and can be accessed and controlled from all angles.

"With the help from specialist contractors, Extreme Rescue, we have been able to move a large quantity of the wood pile away from the wood which is on fire. This was done to reduce the amount of the wood involved in the fire, which will significantly shorten the time the fire continues for."

"In incidents like this, pouring a huge quantity of water onto the fire is in fact not the best way to extinguish it. Our tactical firefighting plan for this incident has very much been drawn from lessons we learned at a similar incident in Thoby Lane, Mountnessing in 2014.

"One of our main priority throughout this incident has been the environmental impact and we have been working closely with the Environment Agency to keep the effects of this fire to a minimum.

"We have set up a system so that any water run off is collected into a specially designated area. We are working with the Environment Agency to manage the water, to prevent it running straight off into the water course.

"We very much appreciate that an incident like this has an impact on the local community and we would like to thank them for their patience and understanding. We are working extremely hard with help from our partner agencies to bring this incident to a close as soon as we can. 

"Hoe Lane will be closed intermittently while we are still tackling this fire for the safety of our crews and our equipment. Local access to houses/businesses will of course still be available."


Update | Friday 9 September

Divisional Officer Mark Samuels, who has overseen the incident said:

“I am pleased to be able to report the fire has been extinguished. Firefighters will remain on site for the next few days to monitor the pile and check any remaining hot spots are extinguished. I anticipate that we will be in a position to leave the site by the middle of next week.

“The fire has been extinguished so quickly thanks to some new specialist products which we applied to the fire on Wednesday (September 7).

“The product works by dramatically reducing the temperature of the material when it is applied to the surface. It also makes the water penetrate into the wood instead of running straight off. The product is biodegradable, non-toxic and environmentally friendly and was provided to us free of charge as part of a trial.

“We added the liquid to our water dam at a 1% concentration and then we applied it using our fire hoses. This is a brand new product to the UK, which we have already been testing on a small scale at our Training Centre. This is the first time we have been able to use it at a live incident.

“The product was a huge success, and has considerably reduced the amount time we will be here for as without it, we would have been here for at least a month.

“The response to this incident has involved the hard work of hundreds of firefighters from all over Essex as well as officers and departments such as our Stores team who ensured we had everything we needed from equipment to water and food. Our Control team have also done a fantastic job in not only dealing with the initial incident, but all the later planning of reliefs to make sure ECFRS was able to carry on with our business as usual while we maintained a presence here.

“Throughout this incident we have also been supported by our partners at the Environment Agency, Epping Forest District Council and Essex Police. Their involvement has been essential to the swift and effective conclusion to this incident.

“We have also had support from Extreme Rescue who are our contractors with specialist heavily machinery expertise. Extreme Rescue used their mechanical diggers to dig a trench the whole way round the pile so that it couldn’t spread to the neighbouring buildings and businesses. They also created an area so that we were able to collect the polluted water from the fire and prevent it entering the nearby streams and rivers. They also dug into the centre of the wood pile to enable us to extinguish the fire at the core.

“I would also like to thank Bureau Veritas, who provided us with specialist hazard material advice, and also to the neighbouring businesses on the site who despite all the disruption, supported us and all equipment on their site.

“We are now entering the final stages of this incident. We will remain at the site over the weekend to monitor the temperature of the pile and to extinguish any remaining hot spots. By the middle of next week, we hope to be able to leave the site completely.”

Incident Images

  • Nazeing 001
  • Nazeing 002
  • Nazeing 003
  • Nazeing 004
  • Nazeing 005
  • Nazeing 006
  • Nazeing 007
  • Nazeing 03.09.16
  • Hoe Lane 001
  • Nazeing 2
  • Nazeing 2 - 1
  • Nazeing 2 - 3
  • hoe 001
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