'No scope for complacency' as Hankley burns again

By Daniel Gee   |   Head of Content   |
Monday 19th April 2021 12:30 pm
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The common was left scorched after Monday's blaze (Photo by James Mendelssohn) ()

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LITTER, and specifically discarded glass, has been blamed for a fire that destroyed another 25 acres of Hankley Common on Monday.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, with help from colleagues in Hampshire, were called to the heathland blaze shortly before 3pm and arrived to find undergrowth “well alight”.

The fire took hold on an MoD-managed area to the south of the common, untouched by the devastating blaze that scorched 470 acres at Hankley in 2020.

At its height, the flames came within just 50 yards of a home off Thursley Road.

But fire crews – aided by 13 appliances and two drones – were able to quickly bring the blaze under control, and dampened down the common into Monday evening.

No homes were evacuated.

Speaking afterwards, Thursley Parish Council chairman James Mendelssohn was thankful to the cold weather and lack of wind for containing the fire.

But he added the blaze acted to remind users of the common to be aware of the risks of fire all year round – and the danger posed by litter.

He said: “Most healthland fires start with the sun reflecting through broken glass, and they think that’s what happened.

“There is so much litter now on the commons – it’s just horrific at the moment. And although we are unable to hold an organised litter pick, we would love for walkers to take a pair of gloves and fill up a black sack on their visits.

“This fire shows us there is no scope for complacency.”

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