Neighbours tell of fears over more heath blazes

ipswich/rushmere: Concerned residents have today urged police and the fire service to ensure that tackling heath blazes remains a priority.

After flames tore through Rushmere Heath on Wednesday afternoon, residents of nearby Camberley Road told The Evening Star that the danger surrounding heath fires had been ongoing for more than a decade.

Firefighters scrambled to the heath where they found 300 sq m of gorse and shrubland engulfed in flames.

Plumes of thick smoke filled the sky, as five fire crews worked tackle the flames.

Although the fire had been brought under control by 4pm, they remained at the scene for several hours to ensure it did not re-ignite.

Julie Harker, who has lived on a road adjacent to the heath for many years, said: “I wasn’t here for this week’s fire, but I have seen many others.

“I could see smoke coming from the gorse while I was making my way out of town.

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“It is an ongoing issue and sometimes these fires are caused by people and sometimes they are caused by the heat.

“They are extremely dangerous because the wind sweeps the flames across and it just spreads so quickly.

“The gorse catches fire very easily, and there often isn’t much the fire service can do other than let it burn out and keep it under control.”

Another resident, who has lived in Camberley Road for ten years, but asked not to be named, said: “I think that it should be a massive priority for the police and fire service. In the past year alone there have been so many heath fires.

“When there is a big one, we have to move our cars to another road because the flames come so close to the houses.”

n Are heath fires a concern for you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or alternatively you can send an e-mail to eveningstar