Firefighters tackle woodland blaze in Hatfield

FIREFIGHTERS fought overnight to put out a woodland fire in Hatfield.

Crews from Hatfield and St Albans battled the blaze at Ellenbrook Fields, near Cunningham Avenue, after a “deep seated fire” broke out in woodland there.

The crews worked through Thursday to extinguish the flames, after the fire travelled underground and burnt its way along tree routes, reigniting in remote areas away from the main blaze.

The firefighters’ job was hampered further by a lack of additional county fire appliances, which had been called away to tackle the larger wildfires in Berkshire, said Hatfield crew commander Sin Dredge.

“This type of fire is hard to extinguish as fire crews have to dig down to locate hot embers,” he said. “The hidden fire can remain unseen for days then start large forest fires.

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“Fire resources were also stretched as many Hertfordshire fire appliances had been called to away to assist in extinguishing a similar, but larger incident within Berkshire.”

The cause of the fire is unknown, although Mr Dredge said there was evidence that a barbecue or fire had previously taken place in the area.

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And he warned residents not to hold such events in woodland during the hot summer months.

“It only takes one stray ember to trigger a large forest fire that will not only destroy habitats, kill plants and animals but will also draw fire crews away from responding to other life threatening incidents,” he added.

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