THIS WEEK IN 1984: Forest blaze ruins 10 acres of Havant trees

Firemen battle with the blaze at Havant Thicket
Firemen battle with the blaze at Havant Thicket

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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.