On 21st March, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service received a total of 97 calls regarding a fire in the open in the East Hill area of Hastings.
The initial call was received at 5.04pm and a fire appliance and a Land Rover from The Ridge, Hastings, were immediately dispatched to Tackleway, Old Town, Hastings.
Upon arrival, crews established a very large area of gorse was well alight and two further fire appliances from Bohemia Road, Hastings and Bexhill were sent, along with one Land Rover from Heathfield.
Firefighters tackled the fire using Land Rovers, a ground monitor, three main jets and one hose reel and 1:7 foam. One further appliance was dispatched from Rye.
A cordoned area was established at the scene and a number of properties in the All Saints Street and Tackleway areas of the Old Town were evacuated as a precaution.
The fire was surrounded by 6.17pm and was allowed to burn in controlled circumstances with crews visiting the scene overnight and in the early hours of the morning. Firefighters revisited the scene again in the morning to damp down the area.
Paul Way, Incident Commander, said: “The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. Protracted incidents of this nature require specialist resources for a long period of time and firefighters work in extremely difficult and arduous conditions.
“In the current dry climate, ground conditions are extremely vulnerable to ignition sources. Once started, a small fire can develop rapidly, spreading over a large area. I would like to remind people to take extra care when enjoying the countryside.”
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offers the following advice to enjoy the countryside safely:
- Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe, designated areas.
- Put out cigarettes and other smoking materials properly before you leave your vehicle.
- Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home and put them in a recycling bin.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately.
- Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows – they could start a fire and ruin surrounding countryside