Guernsey

Sark fire caused by disposable barbecue says fire chief

Image copyright Sue Daly
Image caption A resident called the fire service at 22:37 after seeing the fire, half a mile south of Pilcher Monument, from his bedroom window.

A fire that engulfed hundreds of metres of Sark's cliffs was caused by a barbecue, the island's fire chief has said.

More than 3,000 gallons of water was used to tackle the gorse fire, reported at 22:40 BST on Monday 22 August.

After five hours, a 15-strong crew returned again to dampen down the vegetation after initial attempts were deemed too dangerous.

No-one was injured, and no properties were damaged in the fire.

Image copyright Richard Lord
Image caption The fire could be seen seven miles away from St Martin's point, on Guernsey's south eastern tip
Image copyright Sue Daly
Image caption The entire 15-strong Sark fire crew tried to extinguish the blaze for nearly five hours in darkness, before later returning the next morning

More on the Sark fire and other Channel Islands news.

The blaze occurred along a 250m (820ft) by 100m (320ft) stretch of cliffs on Sark's west coast.

The crew faced poor visibility and steep, inaccessible terrain on the isolated stretch of the 2.1-sq-mile (5.4 sq-km) island, according to Sark Chief Fire Officer Kevin Adams.

"We couldn't see where we were walking and we couldn't see where the flames were or anything, it was just too dangerous," he said.

"It's taken a long time because of the terrain, we're not mountain goats unfortunately."

Firefighters returned to the site to dampen down the gorse fire on the morning of Tuesday 23 August.

Image copyright Sue Daly
Image caption Mr Adams said his fire crew had to scramble through about 50m of scrub to get close enough to initially find the fire

Mr Adams believed the fire was caused by a disposable barbecue.

"Yesterday evening the wind was blowing from the south, and the barbecue was on the south side of where the flames started.

"So I would say it's probably that the discarded barbecue was too hot and it set fire through the tin foil to the scrub underneath.

"I don't know if we could ever prosecute because finding the person would be extremely difficult," he said.

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