Huge heathland blaze - arson probe

ARSONISTS were today suspected of sparking a huge heathland blaze that needed 30 firefighters to douse.The fire at Rushmere Common, near Ipswich, which spread to an area of 100 square metres, created a towering plume of smoke over the surrounding area.

ARSONISTS were today suspected of sparking a huge heathland blaze that needed 30 firefighters to douse.

The fire at Rushmere Common, near Ipswich, which spread to an area of 100 square metres, created a towering plume of smoke over the surrounding area.

Six fire crews were called out shortly before 8pm. They were helped by a downpour of rain as they tackled the flames.

They attacked the blaze from sites in Linksfield and Heath Road using four hosereel jets.

Carl Francis, assistant divisional officer with Suffolk Fire Service, said the fire could have been started deliberately.

"To the best of our knowledge the fire only involved heath and gorse and the crews appear to have got it under control really quite quickly," he said.

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"We have been damping down the area and the rain does help to an extent, as the fire is less likely to spread."

He added: "There's no judgement as to the cause of the fire yet, but there's little likely to have caused it. Our first avenue of investigation is that it was started deliberately."

The senior firefighter urged people to be careful in grassy areas during particularly hot spells.

"We have seen a number of these heath fires during the driest spells and the weather does more everything more susceptible."