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The NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility, based at Edinburgh, are highlighted in contributing to the rapid response of the environmental science community in the UK to research the impacts of the recent explosion and fire at the Buncefield fuel depot in Hemel Hempstead, near London, on the 11th of December 2005. On the day after the explosion, Dr Tamsin Mather from the Earth Sciences Department at Cambridge University requested an FSF Microtops sun photometer to help monitor aerosols and pollution from the fire. The project was supported under the Facilities urgency loans scheme. Although timescales were tight the Facility was able to turn around the equipment for use in the field within three hours.