Fire bosses have faith in Tour de France strategy

West Yorkshire Fire Service held a Tour de France training session with colleagues from greater Manchester
West Yorkshire Fire Service held a Tour de France training session with colleagues from greater Manchester

West Yorkshire Fire Service bosses are confident they will cope with the anticipated large crowds when the Tour de France comes to Yorkshire.

Over the weekend of July 5 and 6 the service will still be responding to emergency incidents as normal and expect to have a full fleet of 54 fire engines and up to eight resilience pumps providing cover.

There will be extensive road closures in place but firefighters will be able to use crossing points to access incidents.

The brigade will also be working closely alongside other emergency services and in partnership with race organisers to ensure the public’s safety.

West Yorkshire Fire Service Area Manager Ian Dunkley, who is in overall charge of the fire response during the Grand Depart weekend, said: “We have a comprehensive response plan in place for the two days. This will ensure that we can respond to all incidents whether they are in and around the tour, or in areas of the county largely unaffected by it.

“The public can assist us with this by taking extra care when celebrating the tour, whether this is by attending organised events at the spectator hubs or, if they choose to watch the race from remote locations such as the moors, our website gives good advice around safe camping and such like.

“The roads, especially close to the route, will be congested over the weekend and it is important that people plan their journeys carefully and do not park their vehicles inappropriately which may block roads for emergency vehicles, especially our fire engines which require a greater width than other partner services.

“This really is going to be a fantastic spectacle for all, so do enjoy it safely.”

The brigade recently carried out wild fire prevention training exercises at White Holme Moor, above Cragg Vale, alongside officers from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

Assistant District Commander for Calderdale, Robin Ward, said: “Moorland wildfires could pose a safety risk to on-foot spectators travelling to hill climb positions on the Tour de France route. The anticipated volume of people and restricted access caused by the event is being taken into account.

“Wildfire fire-fighting resources will be strategically positioned around the moorland risk areas to reduce the chances of a moorland fire developing.

“However, the public can also do their bit by not dropping cigarettes and taking extra care when using disposable barbecues.”