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Fire breaks out at West Berkshire beauty spot, Snelsmore Common

Walkers battle flames with fire beaters to try to contain damage

Sarah Bosley

sarah.bosley@newburynews.co.uk

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Fire breaks out at West Berkshire beauty spot, Snelsmore Common

Members of the public fought back flames as a fire threatened to engulf a swathe of Newbury woodland at the weekend.

A handful of walkers used fire beaters to try to contain a blaze that had broken out on Snelsmore Common just before 5pm on Sunday afternoon as firefighters rushed to the scene.

Eyewitness Amanda Cunnington, whose son stayed at the entrance to the country park to guide fire crews in, said she had been amazed at how fast the fire took hold.

“When we got there, there were already five or six people with fire beaters trying to put it out,” she explained. “It was about 50 square metres and really burning fast. By the time the fire engines arrived it was about 100 square metres.

“Small trees were going up really quickly and it was amazing how hot it was. You couldn’t really get close enough with the fire beaters to do anything about it.”

Two Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews from Newbury, one crew from Hungerford, a water carrier from Bracknell, the Incident Command Unit and off-road vehicle from Maidenhead and two officers were sent to the scene, alongside crews from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

It took four firefighters, wearing breathing apparatus and using a light portable pump, to extinguish the fire and dampen down the area.

Crews were on the scene for more than four hours.

It is not thought anyone was injured in the fire.

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