Eight fire crews help bring blaze in Thetford Forest under control

Fire damage from a blaze in Thetford Forest over the weekend of June 23 and 24. Picture: Forestry Co

Fire damage from a blaze in Thetford Forest over the weekend of June 23 and 24. Picture: Forestry Commission - Credit: Archant

Eight crews are currently on scene at a fire in undergrowth at Thetford Forest.

Thetford Forest. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Thetford Forest. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Seven appliances from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, including a water carrier from Newmarket, and one from Norfolk are currently at the scene on Brandon Road, near Brandon.

The crews, called to the blaze at 5.06pm this evening, arrived to find the undergrowth well alight.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue said the fire is now under control and will not spread further.

An investigation to the cause of the fire will take place in due course.

With temperatures continuing to soar and with dry conditions, forest and heathland areas are at risk of fires which can take hold at great speed and have a devastating effect.

Last weekend six fires were reported across the 18,730 hectare Thetford Forest at sites in Santon Downham, High Lodge and Mildenhall Woods.

Despite signs warning that barbecues are not permitted in the forest, which is managed by the Forestry Commission (FC), these warnings were ignored.

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FC spokesman Roger Woods said minimal damage was caused and the areas affected were quite small.

He is pleading for people to take note of the rules when they visit the beauty spot to help protect the trees, wildlife and other people within the forest.

Paul Seaman, district Commander for South Norfolk and Breckland Norfolk Fire and Rescue service (NFRS), said: “The current conditions mean many areas are extremely dry and NFRS crews have attended small wildfires in the open at several locations across the county in recent days.

“We have well-practiced procedures and equipment for dealing with wildfire, but of course prevention is better than cure.

“We would urge the public to dial 999 if they spot a wildfire, however small, as early intervention gives our crews the best opportunity to prevent fire spread.”

Forestry Commission rules

1. Don’t throw cigarettes out of car windows or drop them in the forest when you are driving or walking in the forest. Dispose of any cigarettes safely and ensure they have been properly stubbed out

2. Open flames and barbecues, including disposable ones, are not permitted within the forest

3. Avoid dropping glass of any kind on the forest floor; this can sometimes accidentally start a fire, or injure people or animals

4. Never start a campfire in the forest as they can get out of hand very quickly