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Around seven hectares of forest north of Norwich have been destroyed after being started by a campfire.
The fire service were called out on Sunday 11th of July and were there for the whole week trying to put out the fire at Hevingham Woods.
The area has been left blackened and charred and a circle of stones indicates it may well have been started unintentionally by a campfire or a barbecue.
Believed to have been unintentionally caused by a camp fire that wasn't properly extinguished, an initial large scale blaze of Forestry Commission woodland continued to burn through the underground peat and vegetation throughout the course of the week.
With ten fire engines and a water carrier having extinguished the initial fire, underground hot spots continued to burn, having the potential to reignite undergrowth and woodland throughout the course of the week, with firefighters having to dig down into the ground to tackle the underground peat fires.
Over seven hectares of Scots Pine and Corsican Pine have been destroyed by the fire, with the Forestry Commission likely to fell the crop earlier than planned in order to try and salvage timber.
Richard Herrell, Group Manager at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said:
"We live in a beautiful county, which is a great place to get out and about to enjoy in the sunny weather.
As the amount of people enjoying the countryside increases during the summer months, we often see an increase in the number of fires in grassland and forestry, most of which are accidental, but some of which are deliberate.
"The fire at Hevingham looks to have been started unintentionally, by a camp fire that wasn't properly extinguished.
What will have started as a small fire spread very quickly, given the dry conditions.
"Over seven hectares of woodland have been lost and a huge amount of our resources have been taken up dealing with the initial incident and the repeated tackling of the hot spots in the undergrowth and the underground peat throughout the course of the week.
"We accept that people will use camp fires and barbecues, but stress they follow our basic safety advice to try and avoid a repeat of what we have seen at Hevingham."
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service offers the following advice:
- Avoid using open fires in the countryside.
- Only use barbecues at specially designated sites and never leave them unattended. If you are visiting woodland, view details of the designated barbecue sites before you go.
- Keep young children and ball games away from barbecues.
- Ensure your barbecue is fully extinguished and cold before disposal and never discard used coals anywhere except in bins designed especially for that purpose.
- Do not leave bottles or glass in woodlands as the sun shining through glass can start large fires. Take them
home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
- Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials correctly. Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, report it and leave the area immediately. Give a map reference if possible, otherwise provide a landmark such as a farm or pub to help locate the fire. Sometimes, controlled fires are used to manage vegetation, particularly on heaths and moors between October and early April, so please check that a fire is unsupervised before dialing 999.
- Do not attempt to tackle fires that cannot be put out with a bucket of water.
- If an area of woodland is designated as ‘high fire risk’, please ensure all fire safety guidance is followed.