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20 September 2011, 12:44
After one of the worst fires Berkshire's ever seen, work to start clearing Swinley Forest is starting.
The Forestry Commission is spending the next 3 weeks mowing down burnt trees with mulching machinery to clear 40 hectares of damaged forest.
Nick Hazlitt, beat forester for the Forestry Commission, said:
"It's quite a spectacle to see trees disappearing into sawdust and chippings under the heavy mulching arm. It will also be exciting as it signals the start of the replanting phase and forest recovery after much planning.
"While it appears to be destructive as the burnt trees are laid to rest it is necessary to bring an end to the old and beginning for the new trees. There will always be some permanent reminders of the fire but this will be a very positive move forwards."
What's left over will stop weeds from growing, conserve moisture and protect against frost and excessive sun.
Machines will then prepare the earth ready for replanting in November and then again in February and March 2012.
60-70,000 trees will replace those damaged in the fire in April/May, with help from volunteers.
New bands of broadleaf trees, not previously seen at Crowthorne, which are more fire retardant than conifer trees will also be planted.
Birch, chestnut and sessile oak will be positioned on forest boundaries and alongside core fire break roads and rides to help reduce the risk of fires spreading.