/Flames rage in the woods after idiot campers leave fire burning

Flames rage in the woods after idiot campers leave fire burning

A burning campfire was left by ‘”mindless idiots” which threatened to spiral out of control at a renowned beauty spot.

Crews had to spend four hours fighting the blaze at Ainsdale Pinewoods, part of a popular nature reserve in Sefton.

Firefighters were called to the area, close to the beach, at 8.48am this morning, after reports of flames spreading in the woods.

When they arrived near Coastal Road and Woodvale Road, nobody was present, but a 500 squared metre area was well alight involving pine trees and shrubbery.

Fire bosses described the blaze as “deep-seated” which required two engines and the service’s 4×4 vehicle to deal with the uneven terrain.

At one point, the flames jumped and started to spread rapidly, picking up debris, and being pushed on by the 40mph winds.

(Image: Merseyside fire service)

The campfire was initially found by a ranger for Natural England, which manages the site close to the beach, and who was able to swiftly call the emergency services.

Rangers said without that early intervention, the fire could have spread to a nearby private house, and an office and sheds, belonging to Natural England.

A group of people had been seen earlier leaving the area, who had pitched a tent and stayed the night, which is illegal, and against local bylaws.

Starting a fire in the woods is also not allowed.

One local, who saw the fire service extinguishing the fire, told the ECHO: “It’s just mindless behaviour, it really is.

“These people are idiots who think they can illegally camp in the woods, start a fire and then just leave them burning.

A large fire spread through the woods in Ainsdale after campers left a fire burning
(Image: Merseyside fire service)

“The mind boggles.”

The reserve is described as one of the most important wildlife sites in England and one of the best places to see the rare natterjack toad.

The woodland is also home to the red squirrel, sand lizards, great-crested newts and a variety of orchids and other wildflowers.

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Dave Mercer, senior reserve manager for Natural England, told the ECHO: “This is a protected site.

(Image: Merseyside fire service)

“People shouldn’t be camping here or starting fires.

“There’s a high fire risk at the moment, there’s been a lot of problems up the Sefton coast.

“This kind of behaviour is totally irresponsible and people should exercise some commonsense.”

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A Merseyside Fire and Rescue Spokesman said: “Do not set fires in open countryside/woodland.

“They can spread quickly, especially in current conditions and cause serious damage to the environment.”

Original Source