The Roaches Website

Wild Fire on the Roaches Aug 2018

From this.....   To this......

From carelessness


To devastation

The summer of 2018 was the driest and sunniest since at least 1976. There had been no significant rainfall for 3 months. Everywhere was tinder dry. About a month earlier there had already been a major wild fire on moorland to the south east of the Mermaid ie about 5 miles from the Roaches.

At about 9am on Thursday 9th August 2018 a local resident saw a small amount of smoke rising on the plateau in the woods above Five Clouds. This is a relatively inaccessible area of the Roaches. The resident called Staffordshire Wildlife Trust - the organisation that manages the Roaches. For reasons not yet known the Fire Services were not called immediately and ultimately were not on site until about 1-30pm by which time the fire had really taken hold.

Fire Engines were located at Bank Top Farm and Spring Cottage and fire hoses laid upto the wood above Five Clouds about 300 metres away and 100 metres up. Must have been hard work!

During the night although there was some rain the fire progressed up to the top of the Roaches and started down the East side. By 1am on Friday Shaw Top Farm was severely threatened and was sprayed with fire retardant and the occupants evacuated. By 2-30am the occupants of Shaw Cottage were evacuated as the fire was an inferno.

During the day on Friday 10th Aug a helicopter was employed to extinguish the fire in Five Clouds wood. The helicopter was a small one with a bag device on a tether. It picked up water from a "paddling pool" water holder set up by the fire service in a field near Upper Hulme village. Round trips were taking around 5 minutes and it seemed to put out the fire on the west side of the hill fairly quickly.

However on the east side although the fire was not the inferno it was in the night it was progressing down the hill towards the road between Hazelbarrow and Roachend.

The fire continued to burn during the weekend with upto 12 fire engines in attendance and around half a dozen water tankers ferrying water from fire hydrants in the area. The fire seemed to be contained at the Hazelbarrow to Roachend road possibly because access was so much easier there.

By Wednesday 15th Aug there were hot spots where the peat was burning underground. The fire service continued to be in attendance to quell these hot spots until 20th Aug.

An investigation by the Fire Service published on 17th Aug concluded that the fire was started by a campfire set by wild campers.


I'm not sure who took all the photos. Where I know I've given credit. If you have taken a photo and I've not given you credit pleas inform me. webmaster

Click this link to access a video of the night of Aug 9th 2018 by Cliff Mitchell

Early days Another view of wood
The fire around 1pm on 9th Aug - photo by Fran Ward Fire progressing in the wood - photo by Midland News
Gone over the top Evening view form south east
Fire gone over the ridge - photo by Midland News Evening view from south east




6-30pm view from Shaw Cottage 10-45pm looking ominous
View from east side road at 6-30pm
- photo by Cliff Mitchell
10-45pm Looking ominous - photo by Cliff Mitchell
00-30am Firday Looking bad 01-30am Friday Looking terrifying
00-30am Friday Looking bad - photo by Cliff Mitchell

01-30am Friday Looking TERRIFYING.
The blue lights are the fire engines around Shaw Top Farm
- photo by Cliff Mitchell

relief house is untouched helicpter water bombing
Friday. The Mitchells, evacuated in the night, are relieved to see their house is untouched - photo by Cliff Mitchell Helicopter water bombing the fire in the wood on Friday because access otherwise was so difficult
shawside and fire engine
A brilliant photo by Travelling Simon Photography



fight flames 475 fire fighter in wood
Fighting the flames in the wood

Hosing in the wood

getting hoses into the wood fire fighter on shawside road

Spraying from the road at shawside

Getting hoses to the fire  
filming a fire fighter R and r at Roaches Hall
Filming a fire fighter at Shawside Some well earned rest provided by Roaches Hall - photo by


5 cloud woods after The ridge path after the fire
Five Clouds wood after the fire The Ridge Path after the fire
From the ridge path towards Shawside Progression stopped hot spots only
From the Ridge Path towards Shawside Progression stopped just hot spots


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