HAMPSHIRE firefighters were called to tackle almost one wildfire an hour over the bank holiday weekend.

The largest fire scorched 40,000 square metres of land in Ringwood Forest and took more than four hours to extinguish.

Fire appliances, specialist land rover crews and water carriers from Hampshire and Dorset and Wiltshire fire and rescue services were called to battle the blaze, where 35 firefighters attended the scene.

Crews from across the county also fought 64 fires from Friday evening through to Tuesday morning.

Steve Ash, HFRS Group Manager for the New Forest, said: "We ask the public to do their bit in helping us prevent these fires happening in the first place.

"What this means is taking everything away with you after a picnic or barbecue to ensure nothing is left behind that could start a fire.

"Make sure you only have a barbecue or light a fire in a designated area and that everything has been properly extinguished before you leave.

"If there is a fire we ask that you get to a place of safety and call 999 immediately so we can put it out before it does significant damage to the countryside we all enjoy."

This comes after about 30 firefighters from two counties were called to Plumley Wood, near Ringwood, to tackle a blaze spanning 200 x 200 metres.

Six fire engines, two Land Rovers and two water carriers were sent to extinguish the fire and crews from Beaulieu, Burley, Eastleigh and Ferndown attended the scene.

Other crews included Fordingbridge, Lyndhurst, Springbourne and Verwood.


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