Swinley Forest Fire Anniversary

2 May 2012, 06:07

Almost half a million pounds still has to be paid out to Berkshire Fire and Rescue after a fire destroyed large parts of Swinley Forest a year ago.

The service is waiting for ministers to approve the £400,000 which comes from a fund to help councils and emergency services deal with natural disasters.

The money is to pay for the extra firefighters that came to help as the flames spread over a warm and dry May bank holiday.

Hundreds from services across the south and as far away as Norfolk and the West Midlands helped stop the fire from spreading.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Olaf Barrs says he'd never dealt with anything like that before. 

"It was actually the speed with which it spread, both on the 2nd of May, but particularly on the afternoons that week that was quite unprecedented in my experience and certainly have me grave concerns during the fire."

Swinley Forest replantA year on and more than 60,000 trees have been replanted at the forest near Bracknell with the help of volunteers.

New bands of broadleaf trees, not previously seen in the forest, which are more fire retardant than conifer trees have also be planted.

Birch, chestnut and sessile oak have been positioned on forest boundaries and alongside core fire break roads and rides to help reduce the risk of fires spreading.