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Our Birdwatching Correspondent Assists In Containing Heath Fire on Whitmoor Common

Published on: 31 Aug, 2013
Updated on: 31 Aug, 2013

The Guildford Dragon NEWS’ birdwatching and nature correspondent was in the thick of the action as a fire crew dealt with a blaze on Whitmoor Common, Worplesdon on Thursday evening (August 29).

A fire crew put out the blaze on Whitmoor Common.

A fire crew puts out the blaze on Whitmoor Common. Pictures by Malcolm Fincham.

The drama unfolded as Malcolm Fincham was out birdwatching on the common and noticed smoke rising some distance across the open part of the heath.

He quickly made his way to where the fire was and uprooted some silver birch samplings on the way to use to try to beat out the flames.

He takes up the story: “When I got to the fire there was another guy there. He told me he had called the fire brigade, but we tried to stamp out the fire with me using the samplings I had gathered.

“Although we put out some of the fire, it was obviously spreading. I guess the area was about 25 to 30 square yards, but the flames were not that high.

“A firefighter then walked over to assess the situation. He called for support and a Land-Rover tender came across the common. Two of the firefighters with the tender had water containers on their backs. The one who had come first demonstrated with a beater the best way to stamp out the fire. He said it is best to bring the beater down onto the flames and hold it there for a bit, and not to wave it around too much as that can end up fanning the flames.

“It was no big deal really and it seemed like they soon had it under control. There was another fire appliance that came but remained on the track near to ‘Monkey Bridge’.”

P1110970 (1024x684)A firefighter told Malcolm and the other member of the public who was with him that the fire crew couldn’t see any glass in the area of the fire that may have caused it start ‘naturally’.

With the recent spell of warm weather and with little rain, this area’s commons and healthlands are very dry. It goes without saying that people out in the countryside should take care not to light fires or discard cigarette ends, and so on.

Click here for Malcolm Fincham’s latest bird report.

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