Thousands of pine trees were destroyed when flames roared through Havant Thicket in the first spectacular forest fire of the year – reducing 10 acres of trees to ashes.
At the height of the blaze, flames ripped through the crowns of tall pine trees and swept through dead bracken faster than a man could run.
After watching the flames roar through the forest, senior forestry officials spelled out the serious danger to life from such blazes.
‘It only takes a careless cigarette and a forest blaze could result which could endanger lives of anyone in the forest,’ said Alan Catchpole, the South Downs Forestry Commission district manager.
Forestry workers battled with a severe water shortage to reach the blaze in an inaccessible section of Bell’s Copse inside the thicket.