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Fire crews tackle two gorse fires at Hartland and Lynton within two hours

By NDJJoel  |  Posted: April 05, 2013

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Fire crews from across North Devon were called to two gorse fires last night.

Just before 10pm two fire engines from Lynton were called to a 50 metre gorse fire adjacent to the B3223 at Scobhill near Bridge Ball at Lynton.

Crews extinguished the fire using hoses and beaters. It is thought the fire was started deliberately.

Less than two hours later fire crews from Hartland and Bideford received several calls reporting a large gorse fire at Bursdon Moor near Hartland.

On arrival at around 11.20pm fire fighters discovered a large fire involving around 30 hectares of gorse along the main A39 road.

Crews got to work with hoses and beaters and called for two specialist brendon units from Nether Stowey and Porlock.

A fire spokesman said: "Due to the flames being fanned by strong winds, fire fighters remained at the scene until daylight to ensure it was fully extingsuied and to make sure it didn't spread."

Fire service group commander Neil Blackburn said fire fighters have had problems with illegal swaling, which is the planned burning of heathland or grass.

He said: “Legal swaling is planned and the fire service is notified in advance. We work with landowners to manage it safely.

“However, illegal swaling causes a big problem for us as it can spread very quickly and burn for days if not properly controlled.

“Nationally swaling is permitted between November 1 and April 15 but in Devon there is a voluntary heather and grass burning code which states that you should not conduct swaling after March 31.

“The reason swaling needs to be controlled is because it can have a devastating impact on wildlife and there are plenty of birds in the process of nesting at the moment.

“If anyone is in doubt we would urge them to contact the fire service so we can give them advice.”

For more information contact Barnstaple fire station on 01271 334436 or Bideford fire station on 01237 423859.

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