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Warning issued after Thetford Forest fires

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The fire service want to avoid further scenes like this in Thetford Forest
The fire service want to avoid further scenes like this in Thetford Forest

People using Thetford Forest are being urged to take extra care in the continuing dry weather after a series of forest fires scorched sections of the woodland.

Norfolk and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Services were called to fires at Santon Downham, High Lodge, Mildenhall Woods and an area of Thetford Forest over the last weekend.

Paul Seaman, district commander for South Norfolk and Breckland Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), said: “The current conditions mean many areas are extremely dry and NFRS crews have attended small wildfires in the open at several locations across the county. We have well-practised procedures and equipment for dealing with wildfire, but of course prevention is better than cure.

“We would advise people to take extra care when enjoying outdoor activities, especially in the current conditions. People must avoid lighting camp-fires or using barbecues, other than those supplied at recognised sites on hard standing, as this may well lead to wildfires occurring."

Thetford Forest is the UK's largest man made lowland forest with 18,730 hectares and with the ongoing blaze on Saddleworth Moor fire in Greater Manchester it shows just what can happen.

The Forestry Commission have said that though minimal damage was caused by the six fires and the areas affected were quite small, wildlife would have been displaced.

With temperatures set to stay between 25 and 27 degrees for the next couple of weeks at least, the Forestry Commission have issued some rules including avoid dropping glass of any kind on the forest floor and to dispose of cigarettes safely and ensure they are properly stubbed out.

The public are also being urged to call 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service if they see a wildfire.

For further information on fire safety in the countryside, go to www.norfolk.gov.uk/safety/norfolk-fire-and-rescue-service/out-and-about/fire-safety-outside and for the Thetford Forest fire safety rules go to the Thetford Forest Facebook page.