Beauty spot devastated by massive blaze

A firefighter tackles the wildlife at Heysham Moss Nature Reserve.
A firefighter tackles the wildlife at Heysham Moss Nature Reserve.

A huge wildfire ripped through a nature reserve destroying everything in its wake at teatime last Friday.

A raised bog, which is one of the key parts of the reserve, was devastated during the fierce blaze.

It could be years before the vegetation and wildlife regenerate themselves, according to a Lancashire Wildlife Trust spokesman.

Eyewitness Stewart Dodgson, whose house on Kingfisher Drive overlooks the nature reserve said: “It was teatime on Friday and we could smell a bit of wood burning and then there were bits of ash falling.

“We could then see smoke coming from the woods at the end of the nature reserve and then it started doubling in size.

“The flames were going across as fast as a man can walk.

“It was a big fire and it spread very quickly.

“There was smoke drifting across the Heysham bypass as well.”

Reuben Neville, North Lancashire Reserves officer said: “This is one of the worst fires we have had in recent years.

“At this stage it is difficult to assess the long term impact of the recent fire, although the extent of the damage is some of the worst in recent years covering almost the entire raised bog.

“It is certainly likely that it will take a number of years to recover and a significant blow to the restoration of the reserve.

“Its presence is a real asset to the local area and the damage is also a loss for the many local people who regular walk around and enjoy it.

“As a charity the Wildlife Trust has limited resources and incidents such as these mean that we have less capacity to undertake other important conservation work in the area.

The Fire service said the cause of the ‘substantial’ fire was under investigation.