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Clinton Devon Estates have issued a fire warning after a blaze on Woodbury Common earlier today (Wednesday 16th March) destroyed 1.5 hectares - approximately 4 acres - of the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths.
According to Commons Warden Bungy Williams the fire spread quickly due to the dry and windy conditions and could have been much worse but for the prompt action of the fire service and a troop of Royal Marines from Lympstone.
Bungy Williams said: “The fire was alongside another area that caught alight last year which causes problems for birds and wildlife. We have a number of ground nesting birds that live on the Commons and the nesting season begins in the next few weeks. This area has been particularly hard-hit after last year’s fire and we are anxious that no further damage is caused to these important lowland heaths.”
He continued: “People using the Commons, or even driving across them, at this time of year must take extra care because it’s dry and windy and there’s not a lot of ground cover which means the peat can burn – and this becomes very difficult to extinguish.”
Four fire appliances, equipped with a water bowser worked with Royal Marines from Lympstone to put out the flames on land between Four Firs and Yettington.