Firefighters from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have today (Tuesday February 28th) been tackling a fire at Ashdown Forest.
Two fire engines from Crowborough and Uckfield attended, using a water carrier as well as four specialist Land Rover Pump Appliances from Crowborough, Wadhurst, Heathfield and East Grinstead (which are designed to act as a lightweight fire-fighting appliance ideal for accessing rural and remote areas) to tackle the fire. The Land Rover is fitted with a water tank and pump, hoses and equipment to be able to cope with most small rural fires.
An incident command team, along with the Incident Command Unit, were also mobilised to the area located near to Woodreeves Car Park, off the B2188, at 10.23am.
Around 25 firefighters were met with arduous conditions as they tackled the blaze, which had spread across 1.5 hectares. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental, after controlled burning spread rapidly across nearby gorse and undergrowth.
The fire was successfully extinguished by 1pm, but crews will remain at the scene for the duration of the afternoon using beaters to ensure the fire is fully out. A re-inspection is taking place at 3pm.
Watch Commander Andy Tolkien said:
“This incident just goes to show has dry the conditions currently are and we would urge the public to be extra vigilant when in the forest.
“There has not been a lot of rain this winter so the foliage is very dry. All you need is a discarded cigarette and a bit of wind to fan the flames for a fire to start.”
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind forest users to follow this safety advice:
Forest Safety Advice:
Extinguish cigarettes properly and don't throw cigarette ends on the ground.
- Avoid using open fires in the countryside - check local bylaws.
- Don't leave bottles or glass in woodland - sunlight shining through glass can start fires.
- Take your rubbish home with you or use waste bins.
- Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended - check local bylaws before use.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, report it to the Fire and Rescue Service immediately
- Don't attempt to tackle fires that can't be put out quickly and easily with a bucket of water - leave the area as soon as possible.