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Fire rages on the Stiperstones for seven hours

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A wildfire engulfed almost 90 acres of a county beauty spot for seven hours, leaving a trail of scorched earth and huge plumes of smoke across the skyline.

A wildfire engulfed almost 90 acres of a county beauty spot for seven hours, leaving a trail of scorched earth and huge plumes of smoke across the skyline.

The blaze on Oak Hill at the Stiperstones, near Minsterley, could be seen 10 miles away.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service reached the hill at 3.30pm yesterday after receiving a call from Lara Sproson, landlady of the Stiperstones Inn, who was alerted to the blaze by walkers at 2.45pm.

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As 72 firefighters, six fire engines, two off-road vehicles and two support vehicles arrived, flames quickly fanned out across the hill burning gorse and undergrowth dried out by the recent sunny weather.

Fire service area manager John Das-Gupta said that after initially beating the blaze back, firefighters were forced to wait and let it burn unchecked because of the hill's steep slopes.

He said: "This type of fire could not have happened in a worse place because it's extremely difficult to get to.

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"When you get one of these extremely dry weeks it can be very dangerous.

"We had to wait for the fire to make its way to the top so we could get at it safely. We extinguished one face of the hill but were not been able to get to the other.

"We arrived at 3.30pm and put out the one side around 6.30pm.

"We do not know what started it. It could be a piece of broken glass that has been magnified by the sun on the ground.

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"There were no properties or people nearby so we could let it burn – once an area has been fire damaged it won't go up again."

Fire chiefs say the wildfire was finally brought under control at around 10pm.

Some firefighters were still at the scene this morning damping down and keeping a vigil to ensure the gorse did not catch fire again.

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