Fire authority issues warning after Woodbury blaze

FIRE officers are urging the public to be careful when out enjoying the countryside following a large-scale blaze on Woodbury Common last month.

George Setter, from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said such incidents put the lives of the public and fire crews at risk.

The blaze started in the Bystock Reservoir area on Saturday, June 19. It was the second major fire at the site in two months.

One acre of gorse was destroyed and several trees also affected. Appliances from Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Middlemoor and Topsham attended.

Mr Setter: “These fires put the lives of the public and fire crews at risk and also keep firefighters from attending other emergencies.

“They also scar the beautiful landscape and damage fragile wildlife habitats.

“Many of these blazes are preventable and we would ask all those who are using the common and moors in the region to be very careful and vigilant as the dry weather continues.”

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Scores of firefighters tackles a blaze which raged across the common last April, which was thought to have been caused as a result of a discarded cigarette end.

Clouds of smoke were visible from several miles away.

The fire authority has issued the following advice to people for when they go out and about in the countryside.

* To extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly.

* Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows

* Don’t leave bottles and glass in woodlands – sunlight shining through glass can start fires - take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin

* Only use barbecues in suitable, safe areas and never leave them unattended

* Avoid using open fires in the countryside

* If you see a fire in the countryside report it immediately

* Don’t be tempted to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible