Gorse fires believed to be arson

Wednesday 22nd April 2015 10:00 pm
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GORSE fires at two separate locations on Dartmoor are believed to have been started deliberately over the weekend.

Firefighters from Tavistock, Yelverton and Princetown were called to fires which the crews believed had been started by arsonists.

The crew from Tavistock was called several times to Doe Tor which is next to the River Lyd and around half a mile behind the Dartmoor Inn, Lydford.

Tavistock firefighters first had a call at 7.19am on Saturday but the small fire was dealt with by the Dartmoor Commoners. A further call was received at 2.46pm to attend a small fire at the same location.

After returning home from the second call, the station's firefighters were called to the area once again but this time the area affected was much larger — around three to four acres, being fanned by strong winds.

Dartmoor Commoners assisted the firefighters to extinguish the blaze and the Dartmoor National Park Authority and police were also in attendance.

In the early hours of Sunday, Tavistock firefighters were called out in their off road vehicle to assist Princetown and Yelverton firefighters who were attending a fire on South Hessary Tor, which was also believed to have been started deliberately.

Glenn Arundel, watch manager for Tavistock, said: 'In times where the fire service, as many others, are going through tough financial restraints this is something which we can do without.

'Not only does it tie up our fire appliances and personnel so they are unable to attend other incidents, it also has large effects on others such as the commoners who manage the land.

'Members of the public are put at risk whilst out walking. I would ask people to consider the school pupils who are out there training for the Ten Tors as well as the detrimental effect on the nesting birds and wildlife.

'Any fire is a high risk but on moorland it will travel far faster than you can run!

'Even when commoners have controlled burns (up to April 15) they have to adhere to strict guidelines and must have suitable means of putting fires out as well as enough people to manage it.'

If anyone has information on any of the incidents, contact the police quoting log number 556 of 18.4.15.

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