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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 11:59 GMT
Struggle to tackle moorland blaze
Controlled heather burning may have caused the emergency
Dozens of firefighters spent almost 24 hours tackling a fierce blaze which ripped through a large area of moorland.

At the height of the incident on Alnwick Moor, Northumberland, eight fire appliances and almost 50 firefighters from all over the county were involved in the operation.

The alarm was raised when an area of bracken caught fire near the Lemington Bank Top crossroads between Alnwick and Rothbury on Saturday.

Tinderbox conditions caused by the recent dry weather saw the flames spread quickly through 200 acres of bracken and heather and engulf about 20 acres of woodland.

The fire was brought under control later the same day but fire crews stayed for almost 24 hours to damp down hotspots and ensure it did not flare up again.

A spokesman for Northumberland Fire Brigade said: "When we arrived we were met by a fire front stretching almost a mile.

"The operation was made more difficult by falling darkness and a major change in wind direction.

"We had the fire under control a few hours later, but returned to deal with remaining fires in the standing timber and damping down."

Investigations are taking place into what started the blaze, but it is believed to have stemmed from controlled heather burning which got out of hand.

Fires threaten moorland access
06 Jul 01 |  UK News

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