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Reports of fires started deliberately as county continues to burn

PUBLISHED: 08:27 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:06 23 July 2018

Straw bales on fire between Ranworth and South Walsham. Photo: Ian Thompson

Straw bales on fire between Ranworth and South Walsham. Photo: Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Reports of fires being set deliberately have piled more pressure on the fire service over the weekend, as they continue to battle against dry conditions.

Fire fighters tackle the fire at Mousehold Heath. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFire fighters tackle the fire at Mousehold Heath. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) has seen a surge in calls since the start of June, which is being put down to the tinderbox conditions the region is experiencing.

And while many have started accidently, there have been at least two reports over the weekend of deliberate ignitions.

On Saturday, Norfolk police received a call from a member of the public to say a man was deliberately starting a fire.

Inspector James Makepeace said there had been an “extensive search” for the man, but he had ran off into the forest.

North Lynn retained firefighters Becky Hornigold and Mel Tibbs dampening down the fire at Leziate Park. Picture: Ian BurtNorth Lynn retained firefighters Becky Hornigold and Mel Tibbs dampening down the fire at Leziate Park. Picture: Ian Burt

MORE: Further blazes - and people ignoring plea not to have bonfires - continue to keep Norfolk firefighters busy

Then on Sunday, at around 5.40pm, crews were called to straw bales on fire between Randworth and South Walsham.

Ian Thompson, who saw the blaze, said: “I was driving back from a day out and there was a circular straw bale on fire. I stopped to see if I could put it out and there were two other straw bales also on fire and not one fire which was connected up. I can’t believe there was any way it could not have been started deliberately.”

Mr Thompson called the fire service and tried to put the fires out himself, but he said they “got out of hand quite quickly”.

MORE: Firefighters deal with continuing wildfires across Norfolk

Aside from those reports, on Sunday crews were also called a number of other wildfires, including:

A fire at Beach Road, in Hemsby. Photo: James BenslyA fire at Beach Road, in Hemsby. Photo: James Bensly

• Straw bales on fire in Crostwick, at 12.37am.

• A straw bale alight near West End Avenue, in Brundall, at 1.16am.

• A grass fire on Mousehold Health, in Norwich, at 3.39am.

• A fire in the open on Back Road, in Pentney, at 4.34am.

A fire at Beach Road, in Hemsby. Photo: James BenslyA fire at Beach Road, in Hemsby. Photo: James Bensly

MORE: Firefighters called to Mousehold Heath wildfire for second time in one day

• A grass embankment fire on Priory Road, in North Wootton, at 8.31am.

• Shack Lane, in Blofield, at 11am to two acres of stubble alight and a combine on fire.

• At stubble field fire in Snettisham at 11.56am.

• A crop fire off Raynham Road, in Colkirk, at 12.46pm.

• Another crop fire off Caston Road, in Caston, at 1.14pm.

• A grass embankment fire in Norwich at 1.21pm.

MORE: Building blazes and more wildfires as Norfolk firefighters endure another busy night

• A field fire on Weybourne Road, in Bodham, at 1.42pm.

• Trees and the embankment on fire in Keswick, at 2.49pm.

• Another tree fire on Lion Wood Road, in Norwich, at 5.23pm.

• A grass fire off Gilman Road, in Sprowston, at 3.49pm.

• A woodland fire in Brandon at 4.31pm.

• A grass fire at Mousehold Heath, at 6.15pm.

• A grass fire on Fred Ackland Drive, in Gayton, at 6.22pm.

MORE: Norfolk fire service stretched as seven emergencies reported in half an hour

• A return to Mousehold Heath at 6.48pm to a tree on fire.

• Beach Road, in Hemsby, at 7.17pm to a grass fire.

• Another grass fire, on Petty Spurge Square, in Wymondham.

Garry Collins, head of protection and prevention at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, recently said: “Open fires can quickly spread and endanger life.

“Some of these incidents were not intentional but if you are somewhere and a fire starts, it is hugely important that you call 999 as quickly as possible to prevent a small fire becoming a bigger fire.

MORE: ‘We’ll keep doing what it takes’ say fire bosses as Norfolk wildfire surge continues

“We continue to ask the public not to start camp fires and bonfires in these tinder dry conditions. Please heed the current advice and suspend all use of naked flames and take extreme care when discarding cigarettes.

“The impact of these careless acts presents a huge risk to lives and property and many of the recent fires could have been avoided.”

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