Firefighters tackle major Suffolk blaze

MORE than 70 firefighters were needed yesterday to stop a fierce fire spreading towards a village.A huge pall of smoke hung over Hollesley at lunchtime and could be seen more than six miles away in Woodbridge as a fire raged through the tinder-dry undergrowth.

By Richard Smith

MORE than 70 firefighters were needed yesterday to stop a fierce fire spreading towards a village.

A huge pall of smoke hung over Hollesley at lunchtime and could be seen more than six miles away in Woodbridge as a fire raged through the tinder-dry undergrowth.

A main road had to be closed and traffic diverted for safety reasons while firemen from east Suffolk contained the blaze during a major operation.


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A total of 12 fire crews attended the incident. They came from Woodbridge, Orford, Ipswich, Saxmundham, Felixstowe, Aldeburgh and Leiston.

The water carrier from Framlingham was required and farmers irrigating their crops provided extra water for the fire crews. Beaters were also used to extinguish the fire.

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The fire started at about midday on Lower Hollesley Common and covered about two square miles. Numerous emergency calls were made by members of the public. Graham Smith, assistant chief fire officer, said the cause was unknown.

Mr Smith said: ''We have got tinder-dry conditions at the moment. Everything is extremely dry and even the trees are much drier than we would expect at this time of year, so the fire spread through the undergrowth rapidly.

''This has been a difficult fire for us to fight on a hot and dry day. The main difficulties have been access for fire crews into the undergrowth, to get water supplies to them and the heat exhaustion for our firefighting crews.''

Large signs warning of an ''extreme'' fire danger have been displayed on heaths and forests east of Woodbridge and Mr Smith warned the public to take extra care during the dry spell.

''I would urge members of the public to be extremely cautious when enjoying the countryside throughout these conditions,'' he said.

The main road from Woodbridge to Hollesley was closed near the fire for several hours. The Salvation Army Emergency Response Unit attended to provide refreshments for the firemen.

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