Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Gorse fire breaks out in 'tinder dry' New Forest

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Media captionGorse fire breaks out in "tinder dry" New Forest

Firefighters spent the night tackling a gorse fire across more than 85 acres (34 hectares) in the New Forest.

The blaze, off Rollestone Road in Holbury, Hampshire, started shortly after midnight.

Station manager Paul Reddish said: "It lit up the night sky - it was a challenge for the crews to get ahead of the fire and create some breaks."

At its height, 45 firefighters were sent to the blaze. The fire was put out by about 03:30 BST.

Hampshire Constabulary said it was treating the blaze as suspected arson.

Image copyright HFRS
Image caption Fire crews created fire breaks to prevent the blaze spreading

Mr Reddish said the prolonged heatwave conditions meant areas of the forest were "tinder dry".

He said the cause of the fire was unknown but urged people to use barbecues only in areas set out by the Forestry Commission.

The fire is the second large fire within a week in the area.

On 10 July about six acres (2.5 hectares) of heathland off Badminston Lane in Fawley was destroyed.

Image copyright HFRS
Image caption Several 4x4 vehicles and and water carriers were sent to the fire
Image caption The fire-ravaged gorse at Holbury

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