A SPATE of New Forest blazes thought to have been started by youths has prompted police to urge parents to pass on a warning to their children of the dangers of causing a wildfire.
Firefighters had to contain two small incidents involving burning undergrowth at Fawley Inclosure on Saturday night, with youngsters reported to have been spotted running away from the scene.
The call-out to the first fire at the site came in shortly after 8.30pm, and the Hardley crew that responded was alerted to the second one just before 9pm at it was returning to station.
They had used hose reels to extinguish the first one, but managed to deal with the second with buckets of water.
A post afterwards on the Hardley fire station Twitter account, with a picture of some of the damaged caused, called on people to contact police if they can help trace the offenders.
“Youths seen running from the scene,” it said. “With the drier weather setting in, one of these fires wouldn’t take much to start a #wildfire.”
The following night, at around 9.10pm, Ringwood firefighters responded to reports youngsters had started a number of small blazes across a 200-metre radius on land near Moyles Court at Rockford.
A station representative later tweeted: “This could have escalated to something much larger as the Forest is extremely dry!”
Police are investigating the fires, with people being asked to come forward if they might have witnessed any suspicious activity in the areas around the times they took place.
Addressing parents, Waterside Police tweeted: “If your child has a fascination with fire talk to them about risk & let @Hants_fire @HantsPolice know so we can help educate.”
The actions of the youths were slammed by the New Forest Commoners Defence Association on Twitter.
They tweeted: “Wildfire has awful consequences in such a special, protected landscape.”
Anyone with information about any of the fires should contact Hampshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.