Grass fire near white cliffs looks deliberate

The scene in Highams Hill, Gossops Green, Crawley, West Sussex on Saturday after a woman in her 20s was found dead in a bed in a flat. Picture: Flora Thompson/PA Wire

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Grass fire near white cliffs in Portsmouth looks deliberate

Flames burnt an area of dry grass about 1,000 square feet in size in the chalkpit area of Paulsgrove, underneath the white cliffs, on Saturday about 12.45pm.

There was a large amount of dry grass lying on the ground which made it easy for the fire to spread

Ryan Matthews

A ‘small fires’ vehicle from Southsea Fire Station was first sent to deal with the blaze.

However, the crew found the fire was more serious than originally thought and so a fire engine from Cosham Fire Station and a Land Rover unit from Fareham Fire Station were also called in.

Crew manager Adam Cooper from Cosham Fire Station was in charge of fighting the fire. Ryan Matthews, another crew manager, said: ‘What they found was, essentially, three fires burning at the same time.

‘The grass had been cut recently, so there was a large amount of dry grass lying on the ground.

‘This made it very easy for the fire to spread across the field.’

Mr Matthews said officers had spoken to nearby residents and believed the fire had been started on purpose.

He said the fire was brought under control with 30 minutes and did not spread from the field.

‘It was all contained in the grassland area,’ he said.