Part of Havant Thicket left scorched after large woodland fire breaks out in the early hours
A LARGE woodland fire has left hundreds of metres of land at a Havant beauty spot scorched and charred.
Firefighters from Havant and Fareham were called to a blaze at Havant Thicket, close to its entrance at Manor Lodge Road, Rowlands Castle, at 3.27am.
The fire ripped through an estimated 300m by 300m area of woodland and took crews three hours to put out.
Havant crew manager Glenn Kavanagh, who captured a series of stark pictures of the aftermath of the blaze, said the affected area is now ‘looking very sorry for itself’.
‘It’s quite a large area that’s been burnt – it’s all scorched and it’s looking very sorry for itself,’ he said.
‘We’ve been there yesterday afternoon for a smaller incident in another part of the Thicket.
‘We do get called there regularly for smaller incidents – kids lighting fires or people having bonfires and leaving them.’
Crews found an abandoned campsite at the Thicket as they attended the blaze, but said it is not believed to be related to the cause of the fire, which is under investigation.
Ray Cobbett, chairman of Havant Friends of the Earth, said the fire raised concerns about the wellbeing of a host of mammals, bats and birds which call Havant Thicket home.
He also praised the ‘magnificent work’ of firefighters who fought to keep it under control.
On its cause, he added: ‘We are going through a dry period at the moment anyway, so some areas are tinder dry in places.
‘But it's very unlikely to have been a natural event.’
Two appliances and a Land Rover from Havant Fire Station were joined by a Land Rover from Fareham Fire Station to put out the blaze.
Hose reels, knapsack pumps and beaters were all used, before crews inspected the area and departed shortly after 7am.