Firefighters tackling a blaze at woodland in East Devon on Tuesday evening (June 13) believe the fire to be the work of an arsonist.
These photos show the area damaged as the blaze spread, which took crews around five hours to bring under control. They believe the blaze was started deliberately.
Police have confirmed they are treating the blaze as arson, and have appealed for information.
A spokeswoman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Police were called by the fire service at 5.2pm on 13 June to a field near Hangman’s Corner following reports of a fire in a field.
“It’s suspected that the cause of the fire was deliberate and it is currently being treated as arson.
“Anyone with information which may assist our enquiries is asked report it to police.”
Crews from East Devon, Exeter and Dorset were called to a tree plantation at Bovey Down, near Hangman’s Stone, Beer, where they found multiple fires.
Crews worked ‘extremely hard’ to stop the fire from spreading through the tree plantation.
Seaton firefighters were called to the plantation, near Beer, at around 5.15pm, and immediately called for back-up, reporting multiple sites of fire.
A Seaton Fire Station spokesperson praised the crews who for hours tackled the blaze.
They said: “As we approached the area, we could see a large amount of smoke.
“When we were in attendance, it was clear it was no longer a small fire in the open.
“The decision was made to make up for three more appliances, a water carrier and 4×4 off-road vehicles.
“A later make up took it to seven appliances. The reason for the large amount of resources was down to the difficult terrain and the crews were working extremely hard to contain the fire.”
They added: “We attended this morning [Wednesday, June 14] for a revisit and as expected found a small smouldering area but we were happy there was little chance of it spreading.”
East Devon crews from Colyton, Sidmouth and Axminster, joined Seaton firefighters, along with off-road vehicles from Exmouth and Middlemoor fire stations, and a specialist wildfire vehicle from the fire service’s urban search and rescue team.
Additional Dorset crews from Chard and Lyme Regis responded in a bid to back-up firefighters at the scene.
A spokesperson for Axminster Fire Station said: “Fire control received a call from a member of the public reporting a fire at Bovey Down near Beer.
“Once on scene crews confirmed multiple seats of fire on a steep hillside.”
Specialist equipment was tasked as firefighters faced ‘difficult access’ from the road to reach the front of the fire, because of the ‘difficult terrain’.
As well as water bowers, firefighters used water from a nearby stream to douse the flames,
The fire station spokesperson said: “Fortunately crews were quickly able to prevent the fire from spreading any further through the timber plantation.
“Unfortunately, this fire was believed to have been started deliberately.”
They added: “All crews worked hard to get firefighting media to the fire front.
“Water was being supplemented from a nearby stream as well as the water bowser.
“At this point a further assistance message went in for the Telehandler with its wildfire capability which came from the Urban Search And Rescue team.
“The incident commander then requested two further fire appliances which came from Chard Fire Station and Lyme Regis Fire Station, to enable crews to rotate to prevent against fatigue.”
- If you have information to help police, call 101, or report it here, quoting log 814 13/6/23 .