Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin follow the work of the emergency services. In this episode, a ferocious grass fire melts all around it as it threatens to engulf homes.
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Today on Real Rescues, some grass has caught fire,
doesn't sound much but wait until you see this.
It's throwing heat out at well over 1,000 degrees,
melting road signs and the road surface itself.
I was just so, so frightened,
because I could see the way the fire was going
and if they didn't stop it, we really were in trouble.
And a seven-year-old boy acts beyond his years
when his mum collapses at home, giving a 999 call-taker
more than she bargained for.
Hello and welcome to Real Rescues.
This is the Abingdon Police Control Centre in Oxfordshire.
The area they cover is vast.
Millions rely on the skills of the people in this room.
Today, we'll be spending time on the front line, with the police,
ambulance, fire crews and Mountain Rescue
as they respond to real emergencies.
Let's get started on our first story.
Thousands of tonnes of three-metre high elephant grass
cut and stored in a field has caught fire.
Now the wall of flames threatens to engulf a nearby country house.
The fire is so hot that when the owner of the house
walked down to take a look, her apron actually started to melt.
The fight is on to save her home and contain this massive fire.
Flames more than 12 metres high and 150 metres across.
Looking like something from a movie, this is in fact
a 2,200 tonne heap of elephant grass that is completely ablaze.
Firefighters are struggling to stop it from spreading
and endangering nearby homes, one of which belongs to Margaret Gibbons.
I'd been doing some housework
with my back to the conservatory.
After a minute or two, I thought, "What's that crackling noise?"
I turned round and all I could see was a huge wall of flame.
I went outside and all I could see was flames again.
I got halfway down the drive, I couldn't get any nearer.
The first person I saw was Roger Smith.
Seeing the size of his task,
fire incident commander Roger Smith is trying to clear the area.
He came towards me and said, "You must go back, you must go back.
"It's too dangerous."
She had a plastic apron on and believe you me,
the plastic apron was starting to melt.
I thought perhaps I'd better go back!
Elephant grass grows up to three metres tall and is used
as biofuel because of the extreme heat it creates when burning.
I've been in the service for 45 years
and I've never experienced a fire so intense.
The heat, the radiated heat from it, was well over 1,000 degrees.
Knowing they can't possibly stop the inferno,
the fire crews work to contain it as much as possible.
We needed a large supply of water.
Appliances only carry just over 2,000 litres each
and with a fire of that severity,
that amount of water doesn't last very long.
We found out that there was a pool approximately half a mile
from the site which we could put the light pumping unit into
and pump water down onto the fire ground.
I've got an old wooden summerhouse
and the hedge was on fire just four feet away from it.
They were very good. They made sure a crew stayed on the lawn
and was spraying the back of it.
Over 50 firefighters have been involved and after three hours,
they are confident they've stopped any chance of the blaze spreading.
Their job now is to keep an eye on the heat to make sure
it burns out safely overnight, but the events of the day
are seared into Margaret's memory.
I was just so, so frightened.
So frightened because I could see the way the fire was going
and if they didn't stop it, we really were in trouble.
I love my garden. I'm thankful I've still got it.
It's only thanks to our lovely firemen.
Later in the programme, we'll look at the big forest fires
that swept across the UK, and one in particular where firefighters
used 20 miles of hosepipes to get it under control.
Some accidents are so traumatic
that the casualties just can't remember them.
When two sisters are trapped in their car
after it's collided side on with a large truck,
one knows exactly what happened, the other can't remember a thing.
PC Steve Wootton is fighting through the traffic
after an emergency call has come in.
I'm on the way to a two-vehicle road traffic collision.
As I understand at this moment in time,
we've got possibly one or two people trapped in the cars.
He arrives at a scene of high activity.
Doctor's here, everything is in place.
They're just cutting the top off.
A heavy collision between a truck and a Ford Fiesta
has sent both vehicles careening across the road.
The truck driver is shaken up and being examined for possible whiplash
but the main concern is for the two women who need to be cut out of the car,
24-year-old Sophie and her 18-year-old sister Zoe.
Dr Steve Smallwood has been treating the pair
who have both been fitted with neck collars.
If a truck's involved in the accident
then because it's bigger and heavier, there's more energy
and you're far more likely to have serious injuries in your patients.
Both the driver and passenger had a risk of fractures,
broken bones in the spine, which if it's not handled correctly
can cause a risk of paralysis.
While the medical team treat the two casualties,
Steve Wootton and his fellow police colleagues have acted quickly
to help give the crew space to work in.
We're going to close the road off
because we've got ambulances arriving
and we need to ensure they're safe
and ensure the safety of everybody at the scene.
And off camera, Steve will soon need his powers of reassurance
when a distraught young woman called Claire approaches
saying she's the girls' sister.
-Which is your sister?
-Both of them!
-They're being looked after by a doctor and a paramedic.
Don't panic, OK? They're taking the roof off. It's all precautionary.
I'd just seen ambulances, fire engines, cars, people talking.
Just ran to them as quick as I could run,
got there and I couldn't breathe. Didn't have my inhaler with me.
Gibbering wreck, crying, trying to explain to them
that they're my two sisters.
Whilst they reassure Claire, Dr Smallwood is most worried
about the condition of the youngest sister.
Zoe was most distressed
and she had some bruising on her chest from the seat belt.
She was also getting a lot of pain from around her pelvis and hips.
We had to take precautions in case she had broken her pelvis,
because if you do that, you get a lot of internal bleeding
which is going to put her at risk.
Steve has given Zoe morphine to help with the pain,
but before they can risk moving her,
the team need to fit her with a pelvic splint.
A large Velcro bandage is tightened around the waist
to try and hold any potential broken bones in place.
In the meantime, Steve has another family member to comfort.
The mother of the girls in the car has arrived.
She's quite upset and I had to calm her down.
She's going to see her daughters and hopefully give them reassurance.
A former A&E nurse, Kerry knows
she needs to appear strong for her daughters' sake.
'As I got closer, I could see both girls were moving'
and I could hear Zoe crying, so I knew she was at least breathing.
I did calm a little and I managed to get on top of my emotions
so I kind of put my nursing head back on.
While Claire goes to Sophie, Mum tries to relax Zoe.
'Sophie was coping, Zoe wasn't. She'd got rib pain.'
If you're screaming and crying and you've got pain in your ribs,
it makes that pain worse so it's kind of a vicious circle.
Zoe and her sisters, mother and other sister, were all very calm
despite the worry and the distress of it,
and they helped calm Zoe and her sister down,
which did help with managing them
and getting them out of the car as comfortably as possible.
The combination of family support
and the pain-killing morphine taking effect means they can
carefully ease Zoe from the car onto a long board and into the ambulance.
Next, the same delicate procedure is repeated with Sophie,
the team taking great care
to keep her neck and back as straight as possible.
Sophie and I work for an insurance company dealing with claims where
people are in a motor accident and are injured.
To be on the other side of the story was hard to get my head round.
Hospital tests will confirm the exact nature of their injuries
but considering they've been hit by a truck,
the two sisters appear fortunate not to be more seriously hurt.
All the same, it's been a distressing experience for the entire family.
All you want to do is to give them a cuddle and tell them that they're going to be all right.
They looked after my babies very well for me,
because no matter how big and ugly they get, they're still my babies.
Sophie's here with us now.
We've just been watching that together, Sophie.
-What's strange for you though is you literally can't remember one minute, can you?
-Not a thing.
It's like a bunch of cleaners have walked into my brain and gone,
"Don't need to remember that. Let's just get rid of that.
"A complete disaster, let's forget about it."
Even watching it back, that moment where you're getting out of the car
and all the rest of it, you didn't have a bang on your head
-but no memory of it whatsoever?
-No, we think my head's come into contact
with the inside of the window because the inside of my face is all scratched
but actually remembering things, I don't remember people talking to me.
I just remember sensations like a fireman holding my head
and the sounds of the saws on the car and stuff,
but actual things about what happened, it's all a bit of a blur.
And you've got a specific time missing as well?
I just about remember getting into my car and starting to drive, which was about ten to eight.
The first vague thing I remember is asking my sister,
who turned up next to me, Claire, "What time is it?"
She was like, "It's half past ten."
I got into the car 10 minutes ago and I've lost over two hours' worth of time in my brain.
-Just completely gone.
-When you woke up in the car,
-where did you think you were?
-I thought I was on my sofa at home.
I thought I'd fallen asleep in the middle of the day.
"I've fallen asleep, I didn't want to do that! I don't recognise the wallpaper,"
which was the truck embedded in the side of the car.
This isn't my alarm tone, it's the horn going off
and my sister screaming, going, "No, I'm in the car.
"Why have I fallen asleep in the car?
"That truck wasn't there before."
It took a good 15-20 minutes to realise I'd been hit by a truck.
What have the doctors said? Have they said it's a good thing
-you don't remember things?
-It's a coping mechanism for your brain
to be able to take away a traumatic event.
If you don't remember it, you can't stress over it.
That's exactly what my brain's done to that. No need to remember that,
we'll file that in the never need to remember section of the brain.
That's it, it's gone forever, you think?
I've had no snippets, no little bits of it coming back,
not even flashbacks. Nothing, it's completely gone.
-How extraordinary and brilliant as well. Thank you very much. Nick?
Isn't the human body an absolutely fantastic thing, coping mechanisms like that?
I wanted to introduce you to Graham. Here's Graham here.
He's one of the control operators here. Can I interrupt you?
-You're not on a call?
-Lovely. Tell us about...
Before you were taking calls here, you were a police officer, yes?
That's right, yeah.
And when you were a police officer, you had an incident -
we were talking about this earlier -
where somebody recognised a boat was parked the wrong way in the river.
I didn't even know you could park a boat the wrong way round.
Nor did I until that day. It was one of my colleagues.
He was out on patrol with the sergeant. He noticed that there
was a rowing boat tied up the wrong way round on the River Thames.
He realised there was something wrong,
because he was quite good at his job.
He decided to, very quickly, go around the other side of the river,
cross the river, and investigate what he thought might well be
a burglary at the cricket club.
I was in the office, so I despatched another unit as well.
Together they went there and found persons inside the cricket club...
-..breaking into the machines.
Whereupon there was a foot pursuit across the cricket ground...
I love that expression! "Whereupon there was a pursuit."
-Basically everyone legging it in every direction!
Across the cricket ground and one of the offenders
went to try and get in his boat and missed.
HE LAUGHS End up in the river?
He did, he ended up in the river and promptly went to the bottom
because he had all the coins in his pocket.
Really? Pockets full of coins?
Pockets full of coins from the machines, so he went to the bottom.
I think he discarded some of those coins rather quickly.
-Bobbed up to the surface?
-Came back up, yeah,
and was consequently arrested, as was the other offender.
There you go. Thank you very much.
I'll let you get back to your calls.
I thought that was one of the most fantastic stories I'd heard.
It's amazing what you can find out as you go around the office here.
Moving on, on this programme we often hear children
acting more calmly than adults. Listen to this call.
Young Lee starts out sounding like the seven-year-old boy he is,
but ends up handling the situation with the maturity of a grown man.
CRYING IN THE BACKGROUND
LAUGHING: Three kids, but not having any more.
See, that's finished and done with!
It's a light-hearted moment,
but Jess knows that seven-year-old Lee now has to look after his mum.
The lovely call-taker you could hear there was Jess Parsons,
who can't join us today, but I'm very pleased to say that Lee
and Angie, and sister Georgia have been able to come along and join us today.
If I start with Lee first, you were very good on that call, weren't you?
So how did you learn to do all that stuff and look after your mum?
Well, my mum learned me when I was a baby.
She learned me what I had to say and that, cos it was very important,
so she told me what I had to say.
It is very important. I wanted to ask you,
did your mum talk about not having any more babies before?
Cos you said that on the phone.
Yeah, she says she's had three babies, what I said on the phone,
and she said she'd just have three babies.
-That's enough, is it?
-The three of you is enough?
-Does she say that a lot?
-I don't know, really.
But Georgia helped out.
Georgia, what did you do to help out?
I took Aaron upstairs to play in my room.
Why did you? Because it wasn't just you in the room, was it?
Who was up there with you?
Um, my baby brother.
Baby brother, who's how old? How old's the baby brother?
-He was one at the time.
Extraordinary lad, like he knows everything about everything.
Yeah. Yeah, very clever.
You set out to teach him about this cos you knew you had this problem?
Yeah, I think he was about three years old
when we started teaching him,
and he just took to it straightaway.
Stuff like, "Can you role her over?" "I don't know. She's close to the door, I don't want to hurt her."
-That's incredible, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is.
So what do you want to do when you grow up?
-I'm going to live with my mum.
-Oh, are you?
-To look after her?
-Ah, that's very nice.
-Both of us are going to do it cos I said it in the first place.
OK, and maybe you could be like an ambulance person or a doctor, what do you think?
-You'll have to work hard at school.
-Do you work hard at school?
-All right. Thanks for coming in and talking to us,
really lovely to talk to you all, and well done, you.
Now to a teenager as tough as they come.
17-year-old Lyndzey hurt her ankle on a two-day hike through the Lake District.
Unknown to her, she's broken it in two places,
but soldiered on regardless.
It's the next day, and the pain is so intense she can't move.
It's a job for Mountain Rescue.
It's mid-morning when Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team get the call.
They head out to Scarth Gap,
a pass that rises over 1,000 feet above sea level.
Every moment is captured on team leader Mike Park's helmet camera.
The team know this terrain well.
17-year-old Lyndzey is about halfway up the mountain
and she can't carry on.
They have to cover two miles uphill to get to her,
carrying all their first aid and rescue equipment.
We'll be carrying the casualty care sack
to initially deal with the injuries,
which will have splints in and the usual first aid kit.
And we take an Entonox on the hill,
which is nitrous oxide, a painkiller.
A comfort sack, which is a big sleeping bag.
It's rough terrain, but popular with hikers.
Lyndzey was on a weekend scouting hike.
Her ankle's so painful she just can't walk on it.
As they climb higher, the bright spring weather starts to turn against them.
They know only too well how quickly conditions can deteriorate.
'It was a reasonably mild day,'
in the valley, but once we were up at 1,000 feet
it quite quickly turned cold.
'We always have in the back of our minds that hypothermia
'is going to be a secondary problem here.'
It takes just 30 minutes to cover the two miles to the stricken hiker.
Lyndzey's being looked after by two Scout leaders
and some walkers who've stopped to help.
Hi, Lyndzey, you all right? What have you done with it?
Yesterday I fell loads of times and it hurt this morning,
but I just carried on walking, came out anyway again,
and I can't walk on it.
Right, so you haven't actually fallen down on it,
-you've just caught it, have you?
-I fell down yesterday.
It's taken a lot to stop Lyndzey in her tracks.
She fell as she was competing in a walking team event.
Despite the pain, she refused to let her friends down by stopping.
'We started going up the first rock face in the morning,
'and my ankle was really sore. I kept twisting it again and again.'
It was just getting really unbearable.
But I didn't say anything to my team members,
because I knew that they'd want to stop, so I just carried on.
An hour has passed since Lyndzey collapsed.
She remembers how cold she was feeling.
The grey clouds started coming on. It was something like a film,
'it really was. It started to get really, really cold.
'I was just sat there'
and my fingers felt like they were going to drop off.
'I had to keep borrowing clothes off people to try and keep warm.'
I kept shivering. I was nearly crying at one point because I really was that cold.
The mountain rescuers are well prepared.
They set up a tent around her to reduce the risk of hypothermia.
She's putting on a brave face, but there's every chance
Lyndzey's ankle is broken, and it's extremely painful.
'It was like a shooting pain'
but it was continuous, it wouldn't go away.
But then I did have a pain up my leg, as well.
'I think that was just because I had been using my muscles a lot
'in the last few days, so that sort of added to the pain.'
My whole leg ached and my ankle pain just wouldn't go away. I just wanted it to stop.
She's been given Entonox to help relieve the pain
while Martin checks her ankle over.
VOICE ON RADIO
Martin is going to immobilise her leg in a splint
before she's moved down the mountain,
and that is going to hurt.
Whenever we were talking to her explaining what kind of things
we were going to do next and that it might be a little bit painful,
she was quick to tell us she'd be fine,
she'd grit her teeth and get on with it.
Despite the pain,
Lyndzey is able to appreciate her rescuers' sense of humour.
'They were really calm.'
All the men were really calm, really bubbly.
'You know, trying to make light of the situation, as such.'
Keep me calm, make sure they were still doing their job.
But they were really nice, tried to make me laugh and giggle,
just make light of the situation, really. They were lovely.
The splint will prevent any more damage being done to the nerves
and tissue in Lyndzey's leg,
but she still has to travel 1,000 feet down the mountainside.
She's going to have to put her trust entirely in the strength
and experience of her rescuers to get her safely to level ground
and the waiting ambulance.
As we'll see later in the programme,
they have a very unusual way of getting Lyndzey
back down the mountain, and it's not the way they came up.
Still to come on Real Rescues,
a proud dad has his dedication put to the test
when he's flattened by his own son at a basketball game.
-How was the game going, any good?
-Oh, don't talk about it.
-Is this the guy that fell on you?
-No, he's my son.
Well, I hope it wasn't! Was it you?
I want to introduce you to a chap called Nick Reck,
who is a radio operator here.
There are call takers, radio operators, all different titles.
Nick's got a little story for us about an incident
that happened on a farm with a stolen car.
Yeah, that's right.
It was a few weeks back. A gentleman had his car stolen from a farm.
He turned around and saw the car driving off.
-Literally saw it going away?
The unusual thing about this was he was more interested in his dog
that was in the car than the car itself.
You would be, I suppose, wouldn't you?
Yeah, so in the log it said,
before we had any information about the car,
the vehicle index and what have you,
we got the fact the dog's name was Yogi.
Important information! How do you go about tracking it down?
He's obviously seen it go. Have you got any chance of catching it quickly?
We captured the car about 30 minutes later on one of our ANPR cameras.
And what's that?
ANPR is like an Automatic Number Plate Recognition system.
It takes photographs of number plates and then we can track
the vehicle anywhere within the force where these cameras are based.
So when you got the car, was the dog still with it?
The dog was found about two hours later,
a couple of miles away from the owner's house.
Lovely, so the farmer and dog were reunited in the end?
Fortunately they were, yeah.
The thieves had seen the dog and kicked it out
-before they were actually caught later on?
-It looks that way.
Well, a happy ending to the story, at least.
That Automatic Number Plate Recognition system
is a clever piece of kit that we can show you now.
Louise is outside.
What we've got here, Nick, is an undercover unmarked police car.
It has a camera on board, also the ANPR computer, as well.
And hopefully Matt can show me how it works.
OK, what do you do with this piece of kit then?
This system records every number plate that goes past the car.
It checks that number plate against a number of databases,
so it'll tell you if there's no tax, if the car's uninsured,
if it's known to police for any reason or if it's stolen.
I've been out on one of these raids, the police did a roadblock, it's incredibly quick.
We're going to try and demonstrate. We've got a car going to drive past,
and we'll see how quickly it shows up here on the monitor.
The car's going...
And here it is. It's gone straight through.
I couldn't read that number plate,
but it's got a picture of it. What's it telling you?
That's telling us that car that's just gone past is a stolen vehicle
that has been used in a bank robbery in the High Street.
We've done that for demonstration purposes, as we couldn't use the database today.
Yes. It's checked that number plate against all the databases
and it's saying that vehicle has been used for that offence.
At which point you'd chuck me out the car and go and catch them?
Yeah, if it was a real-life situation
we'd go straight after it now, catch up with it and deal with it.
It's also used, presumably, to find missing people?
Yeah, if someone's missing, their vehicle can be added to the database,
and if it goes past any police vehicles that have this kit fitted
we can stop it and deal with them as necessary.
-Very interesting. Thanks for showing me.
A fierce battle between two basketball teams has led
to a broken bone, but it's one of the spectators, a loyal dad,
who's been clobbered in action by the son he came to watch.
Paramedic Danny Millen and his colleague Oliver Hunt
have just arrived at Bournemouth University.
The accident's happened in the sports hall,
but the injured man's a little older than they're expecting.
There's a basketball game going on, a 52-year-old male.
A basketball player pretty much landed on him and he heard his clavicle snap.
So it's a spectator, not a player, who's been injured.
Although there is a basketball player in the office,
it's his dad who's in agony.
-I broke my collarbone, I think.
Mark tries to make most of his son George's matches,
but today he's seen a bit too much action.
I was watching basketball and some big old bloke landed on me.
So you were watching, and they've landed on you?
Yeah, don't laugh already.
I'm not laughing, it's serious.
To add insult to injury, his son was partly to blame.
'The supporters' bench is pretty close to a wall.'
Basically, me and this guy go chasing after the ball,
'and I dive for the ball and just miss it, and this guy tries'
to save the ball from going out of bounds
and ends up crashing straight into Dad.
I think Dad just got caught between a bloke and a hard place, I suppose.
So it's not surprising George is looking a little sheepish.
Yeah, it's hurting where I think it snapped. I don't know.
Right, we need to try and get...
In that hand?
Yeah, just a little bit, not bad. I just feel a bit sick.
-Do you have any medical problems at all?
Every movement is agony but Danny needs to take a closer look.
-I don't really want to bend it.
-I know you don't.
We're not going to get you to move it,
we're just going to try and get your jacket.
Mark can feel his collarbone moving freely, and it hurts.
-I can't really do much to help.
Oliver holds the top of Mark's arm steady
to stop the bone moving around. The pain is too much.
Mark's happy to sacrifice his jumper.
-You can cut it off, I don't mind.
-Yeah, it's an old jumper!
The shirt I've had for ages.
If it's not broken I'm in trouble now.
Yeah! All this for nothing.
But there's little doubt that Mark's diagnosed himself correctly.
-And that's where the pain is, across there?
'When we were sitting in the reception room'
he was obviously hurt, but he was doing his usual jokey way, trying to make light of it.
If you had to score that pain out of 10, 10 being the worst pain...
Seven and a half.
'You could tell he wasn't himself.'
He was getting a bit green in the face
and concentrating on the pain quite a lot, as well.
-Have you ever had morphine before?
They'll put his arm in a sling and then do some more checks.
-How was the game going, any good?
-Oh, don't talk about it.
-Is this the guy that fell on you?
-No, that's my son.
Well, I hope it wasn't! Was it you?
George is keeping shtum!
Clearly not the right time to tell his dad exactly what happened.
All right, is it?
Yeah, it's fine. A little bit up, all the excitement.
But that's all right, that means we can give you some painkillers.
The family can't quite believe he's broken his collarbone watching, not playing.
There's going to be a sharp scratch in your arm. Just relax it, OK?
I think because you're in so much pain we'll give you some morphine
just to ease that off, then we'll pop you on our chair.
Do you feel light-headed now?
-Not yet?! Are you expecting to, then?
Just relax that arm, try and relax a bit if you can.
I know it's easy for me to say.
Now Mark has been given some intravenous pain relief,
he's ready for the trip to hospital.
It turns out that Mark's self-diagnosis was spot-on.
'He snapped it clean in half. He got offered surgery'
but turned it down. He thought, how often does he need to...?
He's not a manual labourer, he doesn't need to carry stuff much,
so he said as long as he can drive
and it doesn't affect his golf swing, was the questions he asked the surgeon,
and they said it should be fine, so he was pretty happy with that.
And, with the help of a sling, time has healed his collarbone.
Perhaps he sits on the second row now!
Earlier in the programme, we saw how a grass fire threatened
to set the surrounding countryside alight.
Long, dry spells of hot weather can often lead to fires
breaking out across the UK.
Swinley Forest in Berkshire was the site of one of the worst fires since World War II.
It took more than 300 firefighters from 12 forces
to get it under control.
Crews battled for nine days.
Now, Olaf Baars, Deputy Chief Fire Officer,
was one of the people behind that operation.
I suppose when you're fighting a forest fire,
as opposed to a street, the problem is access to water.
-You have fire hydrants in streets but not in forests.
There are a couple of fire hydrants in Swinley Forest,
but they're very low pressure, and that's unusual for a forest.
In the end, we had to take water from much further afield.
How far? And how do you get it there?
Do you literally attach hoses, one to the next, to the next?
Yes, but with intermediate pumps.
We use national assets, so high-volume pumps that we set
into the lakes at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst
and ran these high-volume hoses over six and a half kilometres to the scene of the incident.
-So how much hose did you use?
-All told, through the incident,
-we ran out 20 miles of high-volume pumping hose.
Interestingly, with the pictures we were just seeing,
when you get a fire on the surface that's not the end of it, is it?
Oddly with a forest it burns underground, too.
Absolutely. The forest is growing in peat and leaf litter,
and that contains a lot of fuel, so the fire burns into the peat
-and can emerge days later somewhere else.
Also an interesting area for animals.
They do say that if you burn a forest it's actually good for the forest long-term.
Why isn't that the case in the area you were working in?
In the case of Swinley Forest, this is commercial forestry,
trees being grown for profit, and it's surrounded
and criss-crossed by the built environment.
There are towns to the north, to the south-east,
and other large public buildings that actually come up to the forest,
so in this case we had to put the fire out.
Did your firemen see a lot of animal life around the forest?
Absolutely, and there were snakes trying to escape
-or get back in all the time, actually.
-How many snakes were there? Or were your firemen not very good
I have no idea how many snakes there were!
I've been planning that all day, to be honest with you.
It's amazing that we seem to get a bit of sunny weather and we're in trouble with our forests.
No, April was particularly dry.
It was less than 50% of the normal rainfall,
and the hottest April for 100 years.
It's been a dry year thus far,
and without sustained rain we could still be in trouble.
-How do these fires start?
-It's difficult to say.
There are some fires started deliberately, some are accidental.
-Who starts a fire deliberately?
-That's not for me to determine.
But there have been arrests in connection with fires in the Swinley Forest area.
Seriously, don't mess about with fires in this kind of weather,
because this puts your firemen at risk, doesn't it?
You're endangering their lives.
Not only firefighters. Remember Swinley Forest is a large area for recreation,
and throughout the firefighting operation we had in Swinley Forest,
we had to keep on getting people to leave the forest area
who were coming to use the forest for recreation and just to see what was going on.
All right. Thank you very much, Olaf. Louise?
Let's take you back now to the Lake District and injured hiker Lyndzey.
She's freezing cold, in pain and unable to move.
Mountain Rescue have carried all their kit 1,000 feet up to help her.
Now they have to get her back the quickest possible way, and that is straight down.
I'll hold this end. It's just sticking on there.
If you just get that top bit tight for a start.
The Mountain Rescue team have decided
that the quickest, most comfortable way down the mountain
won't be by the path they all came up.
'Going down the side of the hillside,'
it's a lot steeper than coming down the path.
And because I made the decision that we were going to slide down,
it means we need to be in control of the stretcher at all times.
OK. Ready to move?
Gas and air is keeping the pain at bay
while Lyndzey is secured on the stretcher.
She's wrapped in a fleece sleeping bag to keep her warm.
-Down on this side, Steve.
-Bye. Thank you.
-That's all right.
We'll be sledging a bit with the rope.
That means it's going to be sliding on the ground. OK?
It might get a little bit rough, OK?
It may get a little rough. It's going to be noisy.
Don't worry about the noise, OK?
But obviously if it feels painful, just shout out, OK?
Because we can make it more comfortable. All right.
-Hard as nails!
-Yeah! Hard as nails from Barrow.
We tie a 100 metre length of static rope
onto the back of the stretcher and we'll belay that,
that is put a device on there so we can control the spin
in the rope as it descends the mountain.
Lyndzey is completely in her rescuers' hands.
I was scared that someone might let go because it was really steep.
So I thought, "What if one of them loses their footing or I'm heavy?"
That sounds stupid but I thought, "What if I'm too heavy for them and they let go?"
I thought I was just going to go sliding down.
'Everybody on the team is from a climbing background
'and it's a fairly basic climbing skill.'
It's not hard. Once you've set the belay
it will take one person to monitor that rope.
In a split second, they can put weight on the right angle on the device
and everything locks up and the stretcher will be completely static on the hillside.
The stone walls are a particular feature of this landscape.
There's only one way to get to the other side.
Whoa. Come on, guys. Keep it steady.
Where the ground is just too rough to sledge Lyndzey down,
there's no alternative but to carry her. It's a real team effort.
'She was being incredibly brave. She was obviously in a lot of pain'
but she was quite keen to tell us that she was a Barrow girl
and was made of tough stuff and she could handle it.
The last part of the journey is less steep and they're able
to attach a single wheel under the stretcher
to make things more comfortable for Lyndzey.
After one, lift. Three, two, one, lift.
'It takes a lot of weight off from the people carrying the stretcher'
and it means that we can actually move a little bit faster.
Throughout the journey, Mike constantly updates the control room
so that all the emergency services are coordinated.
When Lyndzey reached hospital, she was found to have not one
but two fractures in her ankle.
The pain would have been excruciating.
She was in a cast and on crutches for six weeks.
However, thanks to her rescuers,
her memories of that day are not all bad.
'From the minute they were there until the minute I left,'
they tried to make me feel as good as I can in this situation.
They really explained everything that was going on,
so minimising my worries, really.
I love them all.
Oh, she loves you all! How did you feel about that?
-How did she cope on that rescue?
-She was fantastic.
She was really, really good-humoured throughout.
-Yeah, yeah, real star.
Are they always good-humoured like Lyndzey when you meet people in those situations?
We try to make it that way. Definitely try to make it that way.
It really helps. You brought some kit here. We saw this used earlier, this tent.
So what, you just throw it over yourselves, literally?
Yeah, it's a tent sack and once we're with the casualty,
pull this over the top of the casualty and as many team members
as we can get under and very quickly you get a good temperature inside.
-So good that actually your sweat was dripping onto her.
-Yeah, 'fraid so!
-But that does help with hypothermia.
Talk about the stretcher as well.
-This is quite a snazzy piece of kit you've got.
It's a Mark 6 MacInnes stretcher.
It's a jack-of-all-trades stretcher for us.
It goes down the side of a cliff,
down the side of a hillside or winched up in the helicopter.
And pretty undamageable, is it?
It's had a bit of stick, this one. It's ten years old now.
How many people has it rescued?
It'll have had about 400-500 people on board.
Incredible. Do you enjoy this job?
You seem to. You have a great sense of humour, you guys.
We wouldn't do it unless we enjoyed it.
We get nothing but pleasure out of it, really.
Yeah, it's what it's all about.
And we saw you going up that very steep hill and going down the steep hill.
You were the person who makes all the decisions?
The team makes its own decisions. I just guide it on its way.
A quick question. Did you say you get into the tent
to create heat to keep people warm?
Yeah. It's a big box affair, so one person stands in the four corners
-and acts as a tent pole.
Would you fancy being carried down a mountain on one of these?
-By these two? Definitely!
-You and half the ladies watching!
And my friend Dmitri, I think!
We've run out of time unfortunately. We have so much more to talk about.
-We'll see you next time for more Real Rescues.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
A ferocious grass fire melts all around it as it threatens to engulf homes, and a seven-year-old boy makes a 999 call when his mum has an epileptic fit.