Barbecue 'starts Ashdown Forest fire' in Sussex

Firefighters have tackled a fire that spread through Ashdown Forest in East Sussex.

About 50 firefighters fought the blaze, which is believed to have been started by careless use of a barbecue.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were called to the Four Counties car park near Kidds Hill at 1900 BST on Easter Monday.

A spokesman said strong winds caused the fire to spread through more than 20 hectares of forest.

'Major incident'

Residents were warned they may have to evacuate their homes if the fire continued to spread but it was brought under control by 0400 BST on Tuesday.

Incident commander Andy Reynolds said: "Firefighters faced particularly difficult and arduous conditions as the wind rapidly spread the fire.

"Our crews, with the assistance of firefighters from West Sussex, managed to avert a major incident by preventing the fire spreading to nearby properties."

A fire service spokesman said the cause of the fire was believed to be careless use of a barbecue.

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