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Page last updated at 11:30 GMT, Sunday, 4 October 2009 12:30 UK
Bonfire was likely cause of fire
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Fire service tackling furze fire

Jersey fire service described the fire at Val de la Mar reservoir as the largest furze fire of the year.

The Fire Service have said an initial investigation suggests it was caused by a bonfire that got out of control.

Chief Fire Officer, Mark James, has called for islanders to be extra vigilant when having bonfires or disposing of cigarettes.

"The hedgerows and furze is very dry and at present there is a high risk of fires starting," Mark said.

"I would urge all Islander's to be extra vigilant and take extra care when disposing of cigarettes or having bonfires or barbecues.

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Furze Fire

"When a wildfire occurs in the countryside, the implications for the Fire and Rescue Service are great.

"We have a limited number of firefighters on the island and these types of fires require us to commit large numbers of our resources for days at a time.

"Although we are experienced and equipped to deal with these types of incident, our aim is to prevent fires before they start," Mark explained.

There are still a number of hotspots around the area that are continually flaring up due to the strong winds but the main fire has been put out.

"This incident has stretched the Service to its limit," said Chief Fire Officer Mark James.

Overnight arrangements had to be made for two families that were evacuated from there homes in the area.

The size of the fire meant that all of the islands full and part-time firefighters had to be called in to battle the blaze.

In addition the Airport Rescue and Firefighting Service specialist foam tender was used to drench the flames.

As well as the fire service, people from the community in the area also lent a hand with local farmers using their tractors and water bowsers.

At the height of the fire, 45 firefighters, States and Honorary Police Officers, States Ambulance Officers and the Ambulance Support Unit were also at the scene.

The States of Jersey fire service have confirmed that an investigation into the cause of the fire will now be carried out.

The fire started at around 14:30 on 3 October and at its peak destroyed an area of around 200,000 sq metres.

"It's not the biggest furze fire we've ever faced. but the terrain and the wind has meant that we've been dealing with many fire fronts all at the same time," said Martin Allix, Fire Service Group Manager on site.

The fire crews at the site managed to save several properties in the area but a number of outbuildings and a garage have been damaged.

The States of Jersey Police are appealing for any information that might help them find out the cause of the furze fire.

If you have information you can call the police on 612612 or crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.



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YOUR COMMENTS

Cathy

The fire has taken hold considerably since this article. At 7pm the fire was past the dam and heading towards fields off Rue De La Presse. The dry conditions have proved ideal for the fire and a number of large oaks are also gone. They will be on site all night as the fire is certainly not contained yet.

Perry

Seems somewhat suspicious considering the weather in the Island today (ie. damp and most definitely not hot or sunny), and a furze fire - hhhmmnn...

Regrettably, there are seemingly some sad individuals who appear to get a thrill from 'starting' fires. Whether todays fire is deliberate, remains to be seen.




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