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Watch: Drone footage shows devastating aftermath of forest fire in west Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:38 26 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:38 26 May 2019

Firefighters spend almost ten hours tackling the fire near Wordwell, west Suffolk Picture: ALEX SMITH

Firefighters spend almost ten hours tackling the fire near Wordwell, west Suffolk Picture: ALEX SMITH

Archant

A Suffolk firefighter has released dramatic drone footage of the aftermath of a forest fire near Bury St Edmunds which took crews almost ten hours to extinguish.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene of the fire, at King's Forest near Wordwell just off the B1106, at around 9.25am on Saturday May 25.

According to a fire service spokesman, around 3,000 square metres of forest was on fire.

Four fire crews were initially sent to the scene, with the service's Unimog all terrain vehicle and a water carrier later requested to attend by the incident commander.

A total of 15 fire engines - from Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket, Framlingham, Long Melford, Wickhambrook, Elmswell Brandon and Mildenhall - attended the scene, working in shifts to dampen down the area.

One fire crew from Thetford were also sent to assist.

A stop was called on the incident at around 8pm on Saturday evening however crews revisited the site on Sunday morning with thermal imaging cameras to check for hotspots and to make sure it was fully extinguished.

Crew commander Alex Smith later shared drone footage of the aftermath of the fire on social media.

It shows firefighters dampening down the area, the earth scorched black from the blaze.

He tweeted: "Already we are seeing forest fires in Suffolk causing a lot of damage and draining resources.

"Good work from @SuffolkFire and @Norfolkfire."

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Last summer's hot and dry weather led to the number of field fires tripling on the year before.

In 2017 there were 16 field fires recorded in Suffolk by the county's fire service - in 2018 there were 43 just in June and July.

However, forecasters at Weatherquest say it is too early to say what this year's summer will have in store.

Dave Collins, Area Commander for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: "This fire in the open (in Wordwell) shows that conditions are already dry enough for such fires to break out.

"We must all be aware how easily these fires can start: acres of land can be set alight by a discarded cigarette, a disposable barbecue, hot exhausts from a vehicle, or even a glass bottle which can catch the sunlight.

"The simplest way to prevent these fires from starting, is to clear away all your food and drink, and to properly extinguish barbecues.

"Many of us are looking forward to spending time outdoors in the sunshine, but if you visit parks or forests, leave them as you find them and take everything home with you.

"Although last year saw a very busy and long, dry summer, we were able to deal with all fires thanks to the dedication of all our operational and non-operational staff.

"We are well prepared for this summer, with specialist equipment such as our fleet of Unimog vehicles.

"Their off-road capabilities can access difficult areas, prevent fire spread and scale down incidents quickly.

"But not having to deal with these fires in the first place, is the best place to be - we all have a responsibility for that.

"If you do see smoke or a fire, report it immediately to 999. Consider installing the What3Words app on your mobile phone to help the fire service find your location."

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