Swinley Forest fire to help train crews

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Experiences from firefighters who tackled Berkshire's biggest ever forest blaze are to be used to help train crews across Europe.

It took firefighters from five counties a week to get the Swinley Forest fire near Bracknell under control in May.

A company near Havant has developed computer models which can be used to predict the paths of wildfires.

A training programme based on Swinley is expected to be rolled out to fire services across Europe.

Homes evacuated

Dr Mike Griffin, technical director at VectorCommand, said: "Normally fire services in this country are having to respond to incidents that might take eight, 10 or 12 hours.

"Swinley went on for several days.

"What we can provide is help for organisations to get the right people at the right place at the right time and also plan ahead to know where the fire will be and plan accordingly."

The fire in May was the largest incident, in terms of resources, ever dealt with by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Families were evacuated from their homes in nearby Crowthorne and several roads were closed.

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