Broken glass cause of Shropshire beauty spot fire
Litter louts throwing glass bottles were today blamed for causing a massive blaze that destroyed acres of grass and woodland at a Shropshire beauty spot.
Fire investigators said they found "an awful lot" of broken glass scattered in areas of Grinshill Wood, near Wem, during their search of the site.
They believe the bottles could have been deliberately thrown from the top of the hill.
Steve Purslow, a fire investigator for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the fire was likely to be the result of the scorching weather striking discarded glass.
He said: "We believe the most likely cause is light reflecting broken glass. We found a lot of evidence of glass in the area. We believe it may be broken bottles that have hit the sunlight and caught the undergrowth."
Mr Purslow said the possibility of a discarded cigarette from a walker had been discounted because of the isolated nature of the area. He added:?"We think the bottles could have been thrown off the top or discarded recently because of the height of the scene."
Crews left the scene yesterday afternoon following 36 hours of constant cover to douse the flames, which broke out on Wednesday.
The blaze covered 200 metres of trees and gorse and 50 firefighters from across the county were called to the scene. Villagers helped to provide access to the hillside.
Mr Purslow said the weather also played a big part in the clean up operation which left the county's fire services "stretched".
He added: "The weather played a big impact on the fact it spread so quickly and it was difficult for crews because of the terrain, limited access and high temperatures."
He said no firefighters were called back off holiday, but it did require "clever organisation".