Clean up begins after large fire near Southwold golf course
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Fire crews have spent 24 hours at the scene of the blaze, which broke out behind Southwold Golf Club at 2pm yesterday.
The fire, which is believed to have started behind a disused railway line, spread across up to six hectares of gorse land in about 20 minutes.
Wrentham fire crew was the first to respond, a station which was at risk of closure last year but saved after a public campaign.
General manager of Southwold Golf Club, Gareth Jones, said: 'We can't praise them enough. Thanks to them it means this place is still safe.'
Plans to tidy up the affected areas on the golf course as well as the surrounding gorse land have already begun, which will include work to repair smoke damage.
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Mr Jones said: 'Thankfully, most of it have remained unscathed. The clubhouse is mainly affected by smoke damage as we were engulfed in smoke.
'The tee boxes and fairway have been scorched in places.
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'With upcoming competitions, it's a real shame that our course will be looking less than perfect.'
Suffolk County Council were unable to comment on the incident as fire investigations are still ongoing, but Mr Jones believes the fire could have been started deliberately.
'It could be kids being kids, but there is no possible way you could have two spontaneous burns in different locations,' he said.
'If it was someone disposing of a cigarette, then you could think that did happened, but not to start in two different places.'
Shannon Taylor, 34, of Gorleston, was just parking her car on York Road when the fire erupted. She said: 'I got out of the car and there were lots of people who were just gasping and we all turned around to see thick black smoke rising up.
'A lot of people walked over as close as we could but smoke was blowing everywhere, because of the wind it was just so intense.'
Southwold Golf Club plans to re-open on Wednesday, May 10.