Photographs taken from a drone show the extent of damage done to vegetation on a green space in Rubery – and how close to homes fires have come.
The images, taken by keen photographer Andy Cortez from Rednal, show the blackened landscape stretching along the length of the disused quarry at Cock Hill between Rubery Lane at the top and Sandstone Avenue and the bottom.
The Rubery Hill Public Open Space is managed by Birmingham City Council and often falls victim to fires.
The space, which has acidic soil, is managed as an important heathland habitat with mainly heather-dominated dwarf shrub, acid grassland, gorse scrub and oak dominated woodland.
It is widely used by local residents as a recreational space and is popular with dog walkers.
With the current long, hot, dry spell, the number of fires seen on the quarry over the last 3 weeks is huge.
Cock Hill Lane was closed on the afternoon of 26th June 2018 as major fire quickly destroyed a large area of vegetation as firefighters from 4 stations battled the blaze in searing heat.
Since then there have been three large fires, where 5 pumps have responded and at least 15 smaller fires, where 1 or 2 pumps have been used.
Drone images of the North end of the site show just how close the fires have come to properties in Brookdale Close and Chaddesley Close (See below). Residents reported flames as close as 1 metre away from their gardens on one occasion.
Further footage shows the South end with the fires having burned close to Sandstone Avenue.
West Midlands Fires Service are treating most of this years’ fires as arson. Following two fires on Wednesday 4th July, Northfield Watch Commander Adrian Lyden appealed for people to speak out against those starting the fires.
Thanking local people for their support, WC Lyden said: “If anyone knows who is starting these fires, please contact West Midlands Police.
“Remember, while we are dealing with these incidents, we can’t be dealing with other emergencies. It could be you or your family who needs us.”
West Midlands Fire Service also tweeted to say: “Arson is a crime and puts additional strain on fire services at an already busy time of year.”
Anyone with any information into the cause of these or any other suspicious fires is asked to call West Midlands Police on 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Birmingham City Council works with West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Police and other partners on prevention and education.
Fire breaks are cut into the vegetation by council rangers, based at the Lickey Hills Country Park and firefighters from Northfield Fire Station.
Partners work with local schools to educate children about the risks of accidental fires and arson on such sites.
Rangers and firefighters work together to damp down the site at high risk periods.
Volunteers help with litter and monitoring conditions.