At the weekend we suffered our first moderately serious woodland fire of the year. We’d previously had a couple of small camp fires that had left some heat in the ground, but Saturday’s fire threatened to get out of hand and needed fire brigade support to extinguish.
A kind dog walker alerted me to the fire early afternoon on Saturday, located in the pine tree copse within Soldiers Field. Arriving at the fire it was evident straight away that it was quite serious, with flames around 5-6 feet high under the trees and the grass in the field starting to ignite. The warm weather and strong westerly wind were not doing us any favours. I called 999 and the fire brigade responded very quickly. As ever with woodland fires though, access to the site and water proved to be a problem. I ferried the two fire crews and their fire beaters in to the woods using our Landrover. We are lucky to have a 1000 litre water bowser on the estate – the fire fighters used it twice over to extingusih the fire, along with the beaters and a good bit of digging.
The fire was out by around 4.30pm and the fire crews went on their way. As you may know with woodland fires, especially on the peaty soil we find under our pine trees, heat can remain in the ground and the fire reignites at a later time. Unfortunately this did happen with another small fire popping up at around 6pm, but it was extinguished easily enough with the trusty bowser.
I suspect that it all started as a camp fire on Friday evening – I’ve since had reports of people smelling smoke on Saturday morning but being unsure where it was coming from. I think when the wind and temperatures picked up around lunchtime, it was enough to start the fire.
Should you see, or even suspect a fire in the woods, I would encourage you to contact us on 01689 826393. If you can’t contact us please do call 999 for a fire brigade response.