PHOTOS: Wildfire causes ‘significant damage’ at an East Devon beauty spot as firefighters warn against lighting campfires and barbecues

‘Significant damage’ caused to an East Devon beauty spot after wildfire spread could be down to a barbecue or campfire, firefighters say.

Firefighters from across Devon this week tackled a blaze on Woodbury Common after a fire started and quickly spread over parched ground.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but believed to be the result of a barbecue, campfire, or dumped glass bottles magnifying sunlight.

Exmouth firefighters have called for care after the town’s crews tackled two separate wildfire blazes in East Devon, in as many days.

Photo: Exmouth fire station.

Crews have warned against lighting camp fires in the open.
Photo: Exmouth fire station.


Exmouth firefighters tackled blazes on Woodbury Common and at a tree plantation near Beer.
Photo: Exmouth fire station.

The town’s firefighters joined crews from East Devon, Exeter and Dorset on Tuesday evening (June 13) to tackle a ‘deliberate’ blaze at a tree plantation at Bovey Down, near Hangman’s Stone, Beer.

Police confirmed the fire was being treated as arson, and are appealing for information.

The hot, dry, weather has prompted fire crews to warn against lighting fires or smoking in the open – where a blaze could quickly spiral out of control.

The fire in the Stowford area of Woodbury, damaged around 80 square metres of common.

A spokesperson for Exmouth Fire Station said the fire caused ‘significant damage’ to the land.

They said: “The cause is currently unknown, but potentially caused by a campfire, barbecue or glass bottles.”

The spokesperson added: “Most wildfires are started by human behaviour – a discarded cigarette, or glass lying on dry ground, magnifying the sun’s rays.

“They can also sometimes start due to a bonfire – which was intended to be controlled – getting out of control. Avoid having bonfires at the moment.”


Exmouth firefighters tackled blazes on Woodbury Common and near Beer.
Photo: Exmouth fire station.

East Devon

Exmouth firefighters urged against lighting barbecues or campfires.
Photo: Exmouth fire station.

The Exmouth fire station spokesperson said: “Please don’t have barbecues or campfires in the countryside or on any grassland during this very dry weather.

“If you’re a smoker, please take extreme care with how you put out your cigarettes and dispose of them.

“Don’t leave litter, and pick it up if you see it. Don’t leave it to someone else. Discarded litter, in particular glass bottles, poses a fire risk when the sun’s rays are magnified through it.”

Exmouth whole-time and on-call crews tackled the blaze with firefighters from Middlemoor, Bovey Tracey, Torquay, and Clyst St George fire stations, along with specialist equipment and 4x4s, designed to be taken over areas with restricted vehicle access.

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