Disposable BBQ causes large fire on Dartmoor

By Ginny Ware   |   Totnes Reporter   |
Wednesday 30th March 2022 8:58 am
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Firefighters tackle the blaze on Dartmoor
Firefighters tackle the blaze on Dartmoor (Buckfastleigh Fire Station )

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Three fire crews tackled a large fire caused by a disposable BBQ on Dartmoor near South Brent on Monday night.

Firefighters worked alongside local farmers to quell the blaze.

Crews from Buckfastleigh, Ashburton and Bovey Tracey were called to Dockwell Ridge at around 10.15pm.

On arrival they waited for the fire service drone to survey the area before deciding it was safe to tackle the fire.

Photos from the scene show crews battling to contain the blaze, which had spread across open moorland.

(Buckfastleigh Fire Station )

In a statement, Buckfastleigh Fire Station said: “We were called along with our colleagues from Ashburton and Bovey Tracey to a large fire on Dockwell Ridge.

“Crews awaited the arrival of the service drone to survey the area before deciding it was safe to tackle the fire.

(Buckfastleigh Fire Station )

“We then utilised the ATV (all terrain vehicle) from Bovey Tracey to attack the fire using a high pressure lance.”

(Buckfastleigh Fire Station )

Firefighters warned people against using disposable barbecues on the moor due to the potential hazards and risks they pose.

The statement continued: “We believe the fire to have been started earlier by a disposable BBQ and ask people not to use these types of BBQ’s on Dartmoor due to the potential for fires of this type.”

(Buckfastleigh Fire Station )

They thanked local farmers who they say “proved to be a massive help” in bringing the large blaze under control and for providing a safe route to and from the incident.

The fire occurred on the same night a major incident was declared on Dartmoor, which saw firefighters tackle two separate gorse blazes.

One happened near the Tungsten West Mine at Hemerdon and while the other was near Mary Tavy.

Fire crews were alerted to reports of a fire at 4.15pm and were attempting to contain the fire by using fire beaters and wild fire vehicles.

The aim was to prevent the fire from spreading past the A386, which they achieved, as the fires were extinguished at 10.22pm.

A spokesperson for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue said: “We had 12 fire appliances there plus special appliances. There was a fire front of about 750 metres. Firefighters used fire beaters and wild fire vehicles to prevent it spreading and crossing the A386.”

A police officer at the scene of the fire said the blaze near the A386 resulted from a controlled fire which had become uncontrollable.

APS Symonds, who is based at Tavistock Police Station, said the moors fire was started by swaling on the afternoon of Monday, March 28.

Swaling is carried out to get rid of overgrown vegetation on open moorland, which restricts public access and, during the warmer months, presents a significant risk of wildfires. In this instance it appears the swaling itself was out of control.

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