Re­serve is safe from blaze

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&world Update - By STEPHEN BRIGGS

A NA­TURE re­serve war­den has spo­ken of his re­lief af­ter a huge grass fire nar­rowly missed a pro­tected area of wildlife.

The fire de­stroyed a large pile of baled Mis­cant­hus grass – also known as ele­phant grass – across an area of 30 square feet of farm­land and just yards away from the Short Wood Na­ture Re­serve in Glapthorn near Oun­dle.

The blaze, which broke out at Manor Farm at 8pm on Mon­day, was so fierce it could be seen on the north­ern out­skirts of Oun­dle sev­eral miles away.

The 62 acre re­serve, which is run by the The Wildlife Trust for Bed­ford­shire, Cam­bridgeshire, Northamp­ton­shire and Peter­bor­ough is home to a va­ri­ety of rare plants in­clud­ing a num­ber of species of or­chids, as well as a large blan­ket of blue­bells.

The fire was left to burn out on its own ac­cord, and is ex­pected to burn late into to­day. How­ever, fire crews re­mained at the scene to en­sure that they did not lose con­trol of the fire.

The cause of the fire is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Keith Alvey (58), who lives on the main road in Glapthorn, is a war­den at the re­serve, and went to the scene of the blaze.

He said: “You could see the fire from al­most two miles away.

“There were some big flames, and we could see it from our house.

“I went to have a look at what was hap­pen­ing, and you could see that the fire was just 20 me­tres away from the edge of the re­serve.

He added: “I think we were quite lucky that the wind was blow­ing away from the re­serve, oth­er­wise the fire could have spread into the re­serve.

“We were kept quite a dis­tance away from the fire, but you could still feel the heat from quite a dis­tance away. It was still burn­ing very brightly at 3am yes­ter­day.

“There are not many an­i­mals in the re­serve, be­cause we are look­ing to pro­tect the plants that are grow­ing in there.”

Jane Pearman, re­serves man­ager for Northamp­ton­shire, said: “Short Wood na­ture re­serve near Oun­dle in Northamp­ton­shire has not been af­fected by the fire.”

A spokes­woman for Northamp­ton­shire Fire and Res­cue said: “We were called at 8pm to a field out­side of Glapthorn, but de­cided to let fire burn out on its own.

“The cause of the blaze has yet to be es­tab­lished, with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to take place once the fire has been ex­tin­guished.”

The farm owner could not be con­tacted to com­ment.

Blaze:

Flames from the grass fire near Glapthorn could be seen for miles across the coun­try­side

IN­FeRNO: The huge pile of grass bales burns fiercely through the night on farm­land near Glapthorn. (METP-15-06-10KA005)

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