Essex reserve decimated by fire


A large fire broke out at a RSPB reserve in Essex in late August, with fire crews battling the blaze.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service were called to RSPB Old Hall Marshes at 10 am on Wednesday 31 August to a blaze affecting 5 ha of grass and woodland.

The fire service said the blaze at Old Hall Marshes spread quickly along the sea wall (Essex Fire and Rescue).

The service said it managed to stop the fire spreading to ancient grazing marsh on the site, in Tollesbury, and had it extinguished by 7.30 pm. It is believed the blaze began when a vehicle cutting grass caught fire.

Group manager Dan Partridge said: "The fire was spreading rapidly along the sea wall, due to the dry and windy conditions, so our control teams sent additional resources. Crews worked incredibly hard in really challenging conditions to stop it from spreading, protecting three cottages and two farm buildings."

Station manager Dan Kirk said: "We are working alongside the RSPB and the Environment Agency to mitigate the damage to the site, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Thanks to the efforts of crews, we have managed to stop the fire from spreading to the ancient grazing marsh."

An RSPB spokeswoman said it was "currently assessing the extent of the damage in the area and potential impacts on wildlife".