Firefighters tackle one wildfire an hour over bank holiday

Firefighters tackle one wildfire an hour over bank holiday

The largest blaze scorched 40,000 square metres of land - an area the size of 10 football pitches

Hampshire firefighters were called to tackle almost one wildfire blaze per hour over the bank holiday weekend.

Crews from across the county tackled 64 fires in the open from Friday evening through to Tuesday morning.

This includes a large heathland fire affecting trees in Ringwood Forest which destroyed a 40,000 square metre area of land – the size of 10 football pitches.

Fire appliances, specialist land rover crews and water carriers from both Hampshire and Dorset and Wiltshire fire and rescue services were called to this wildfire in the New Forest which took 35 firefighters more than four hours to extinguish.

HFRS Group Manager for the New Forest Steve Ash said:

“We ask the public to do their bit in helping us prevent these fires happening in the first place.

“What this means is taking everything away with you after a picnic or barbecue to ensure nothing is left behind that could start a fire.

“Also make sure you only have a barbecue or light a fire in a designated area and that everything has been properly extinguished before you leave.

“In the unfortunate case of there being a fire we ask that you get to a place of safety and call 999 immediately so we can put it out before it does significant damage to the countryside we all enjoy.

“If you see any suspicious activity report it to the police.”

To help avoid wildfire and to find more countryside fire safety tips visit our website.

Forestry England also post current fire risk information on their website.