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Firefighters battle blazes amid New Forest wildfire alert




FIREFIGHTERS tackled a large woodland blaze for about 12 hours amid a string of recent incidents.

The emergencies came as the New Forest remained on an amber wildfire alert due to dry and windy conditions.

Barbecues, campfires and bonfires are banned on Crown land.

Firefighters in Hythe (Photo: Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service)
Firefighters in Hythe (Photo: Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service)

Around 1.2 hectares of heath was destroyed in woodland near Matchams Viewpoint, off Wattons Lane in St Ives, Ringwood.

Called out around 2.50am on Sunday, crews from Ringwood, Christchurch and Ferndown were supported by an all-terrain vehicle.

The heat and high winds exacerbated the incident, and they remained on scene until around 2.45pm the following afternoon.

Christchurch firefighters then returned and put out hotspots around 7pm on Sunday and 9am on Monday.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said afterwards: “These avoidable incidents tie up so many of our resources.

“Help us keep our crews available to protect our communities by not having any sort of fire in a wooded area."

Last Wednesday, shortly before 5.30pm, Ringwood firefighters teamed up with Dorset colleagues to tackle flames engulfing grass, undergrowth and trees at Moors Valley Country Park, near Ringwood.

Crews battled for 12 hours to contain this woodland blaze near Matchams Viewpoint (Photo: Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service)
Crews battled for 12 hours to contain this woodland blaze near Matchams Viewpoint (Photo: Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service)

A Ringwood crew dealt with small blazes in the open off Linford Road in Poulner twice on Saturday – around 1.30pm and around 5.30pm.

Although reportedly started by youths, a Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said they were not being investigated.

Hardley firefighters put out a campfire at the Dibden Inclosure car park in Beaulieu Road shortly before 10am on Sunday, having already extinguished one there just before 8pm last Thursday.

Also that day, Hardley and Hythe crews responded to several 999 calls around 5.20pm reporting a large amount of smoke and trees alight on Forest Front in the town.

They contained flames covering an area approximately 40 by 50 metres. The cause was not believed to have been deliberate.



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