Firefighters issue warning after outbreak of heathland blazes

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Burton Common fire
Firefighters battled the blaze at Burton Common near Christchurch (Photo: Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service)

AS temperatures soared to record levels over the weekend, firefighters were busy dealing with an outbreak of heath blazes.

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Crews from Hampshire and Dorset teamed up to battle a huge fire which swept through heathland at Christchurch.

The alarm was raised around 5pm on Saturday as an area of about 400 metres x 400 metres at Burton Common was engulfed by flames.

Multiple crews used hose reels and foam as they spent over two-and-a-half hours tackling the emergency.

No information as to how the blaze might have started was available.

The previous day a call-out to a fire on heathland at St Catherine’s Hill, also in Christchurch, prompted a reminder for people to ensure they fully extinguish disposable barbecues.

Firefighters were alerted around 5.35pm on Good Friday as flames engulfed a small area of land.

Once the incident had been contained, the crew discovered it had been caused by a disposable barbecue that had not been completely put out.

A post afterwards on the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire Control Twitter account said: “With the warm weather over the weekend please ensure you are using disposable BBQs in safe locations and that they are fully extinguished prior to disposing of them.”

On Easter Sunday fire crews tackled a large blaze that was sweeping through an area of New Forest heathland.

The alarm was raised shortly before 6pm, with reports a 60-metre x 20-metre patch of land was alight near the Ornamental Drive in Brockenhurst.

Aided by specialist vehicles, firefighters contained the emergency in just over half an hour with hose reel jets, knapsacks and beaters.

No information as to what might have caused the blaze was available. However, a post referring to the incident on the Brockenhurst fire station Twitter account warned people to be extra careful in Forest areas as the weather gets warmer.

“Great initial attack to contain the fire from spreading and hard work from all crews,” the tweet said.

“Please be mindful that the Forest is starting to dry out and please keep the Forestry Com-mission gateways clear!”

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