Published:
August 6, 2018
Drone photos show scale of 'deliberate' blaze that destroyed five acres of grassland at Burnham and Berrow Golf Course

Fire investigators believe a huge blaze that destroyed over five acres of grassland next to Burnham-On-Sea and Berrow's golf course on Sunday (August 5th) was deliberately set.

Devon and Somerset Fire Service's lead officer in charge of the incident said on Monday that he believes the incident was deliberately started. Police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

These new drone photos, from Burnham-On-Sea.com David Whatley, reader show the scale of the blaze and the area affected next to the course which runs along the coast from Burnham to Berrow.

Fire crews from Burnham-On-Sea and across the area were called to an area behind Berrow Church just before 4pm and then battled the blaze for several hours to prevent it spreading.

Karen Drake, managing secretary at the golf club, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It was very distressing to see how quickly the fire took hold of the area of land by the reservoir and spread back towards the 9th Green. We are grateful to the quick thinking players on the course at the time who made a call to the fire service."

"The fire has totally burnt out the area between the 7/8 holes and the 10/11/12th holes but thankfully there is no fire damage to the playing areas of either course and no-one was hurt."

"The fire brigade have done a tremendous job in restricting the spread of the fire. Myself, Directors Dave Harries, Andy Birkett and Mike Armstrong and Dave Haines and Graham Coombe were in attendance. Greenkeepers Paul Dunn and Craig Dunbar also attended and switched on the irrigation system where required in order to prevent damage to the 9th Green. We are grateful to the fire crew and will of course show them our gratitude when we can."

"Unless advised otherwise, I can confirm that the Championship Course is fully playable and we will be open as usual on Monday. It should be reminded that players must take extra caution whilst playing especially over the next few days."

A Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service spokesman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "We received 15 calls to a grass fire. A crew from Burnham-On-Sea was mobilised and requested the attendance of four further pumping appliances, a water carrier and a 4x4 vehicle."

"The crews confirmed there was a fire front of approximately 1,000 metres rapidly spreading due to strong winds. The crews used hose reels, jets and beaters in order to extinguish the fire."

A Burnham-On-Sea Fire Station spokesman added: "One appliance from Burnham-On-Sea was alerted, and whilst making their way the Incident Commander observed a lot of smoke. Using local knowledge and risk of potential fire spread in that area a 'make up' message was sent to control to make a further pump and off-road capabilities and a wild fire pump. The 2nd pump from Burnham-On-Sea along with the Landrover carrying wildfire pump were mobilised."

"Once the first pump was in attendance crews were met by a well developed, wind-driven fire in the undergrowth with a fire front of approximately 1000m. The Incident Commander requested to make pumps to five along with one Water Carrier.These were mobilised from Bridgwater and Avon Fire and Rescue, Weston-Super-Mare. The Incident Commander broke the fire into areas where crews worked tirelessly to form fire breaks using roadways and tracks. A Ground Hog was requested to assist in fire fighting off road, this was mobilised from Cheddar."

"Crews made good progress over a period of time, stopping the fire reaching gorse along the sea front which could have led to a further protracted incident. Once the fire was extinguished crews continued to damp down any further hotspots before leaving the incident. This incident covered approximately 5 acres of land destroyed by fire. Our thanks go to Burnham & Berrow Golf Club for the supply of drinking water and fire ground catering - this was a hot and demanding incident for our crews."

Eyewitnesses at the scene of the fire, in the sand dunes near Berrow Church, told Burnham-On-Sea.com that multiple fire appliances had been seen at the fast-spreading blaze.

"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the fire with grass beaters and other equipment - and several fire appliances were on part of the golf course," eyewitness Bill Rogers told Burnham-On-Sea.com.

"We saw flames in the grass at several locations. In this warm, dry weather the fire can spread so quickly."

Flames could be seen soaring into the sky above the grass in these pictures, photographed by Burnham-On-Sea.com readers Alex Crocker, Stuart Nichols, Alan House, Ron Tropman and Devon and Somerset Fire Service.

A line of flames quickly moved across the grassland at the course

Smoke could be seen for miles around rising into the sky above the course

The scale of the blaze was clearly visible on Sunday evening



 


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