Reserve is safe from blaze
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.
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)