Public are warned to stay away from ‘extremely dangerous’ three mile-wide blaze on Dartmoor


The public was warned to stay away from an ‘extremely dangerous’ three-mile-wide blaze that broke out last night on Dartmoor.

Fire watchers were going near the spectacle in an attempt to take photographs, triggering calls from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service for visitors to steer clear for their ‘own safety’. 

The service earlier deployed five pumps and other units at the area near Tavy Cleave, a few miles north east of Tavistock, in a bid to tackle the fire – for which an investigation is being carried out to determine its cause.

It confirmed this morning that the blaze is now extinguished, tweeting: ‘We can confirm that the moorland fire on Dartmoor near Peter Tavy is now out and we have left the area.’

In a separate tweet yesterday, the fire service wrote: ‘We’re aware that some people have arrived nearby to get a glimpse/photo of the fire. This is extremely dangerous and certainly not an essential journey! Please stay away from the area for your own safety.’

The blaze comes in stark contrast to vast swathes of the UK that have been left frozen over, with temperatures in Ravensworth, North Yorkshire, dropping to minus 15.3C overnight on Thursday.

Pictures on social media showed a large stretching blaze, which could reportedly be seen from as far as Plymouth and Cornwall, illuminating the night sky.

Over three miles of moorland were engulfed in the blaze that erupted in Devon last night and continued to burn this morning before being put out at around midday by firefighters

A crew from Wadebridge Community Fire Station pictured tackling the blaze on Dartmoor yesterday. Devon and Somerset Fire Service earlier described the situation as 'extremely dangerous'

A crew from Wadebridge Community Fire Station pictured tackling the blaze on Dartmoor yesterday. Devon and Somerset Fire Service earlier described the situation as ‘extremely dangerous’

The fire seen raging while fuelled by the strong winds in Dartmoor last night. It was thought to be on a remote stretch of the moorland and no residents or animals were injured, according to reports

The fire seen raging while fuelled by the strong winds in Dartmoor last night. It was thought to be on a remote stretch of the moorland and no residents or animals were injured, according to reports

Damaged areas are pictured today from Brent Tor, looking beyond the village of Mary Tavy, after emergency services tackled a large fire on Dartmoor last night

Damaged areas are pictured today from Brent Tor, looking beyond the village of Mary Tavy, after emergency services tackled a large fire on Dartmoor last night

Scorched earth seen from the village of Mary Tavy. The blaze was reported a few miles north-east of Tavistock and estimated to be more than three miles (5km) wide

Scorched earth seen from the village of Mary Tavy. The blaze was reported a few miles north-east of Tavistock and estimated to be more than three miles (5km) wide

Photographer Matt Gilley described the scene as ‘biblical’, saying: ‘The hills are like a silhouette from the smoke.’

A spokesperson for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service told MailOnline earlier today: ‘The fire is under investigation and under control. 

‘We have two four wheel drives and a fire engine on the scene checking the area.’

The fire service previously wrote on social media: ‘The weather is making conditions for firefighting extremely dangerous – it’s very windy and low visibility… 

‘So we’re maintaining our presence but fighting in ‘defensive mode’, which means we’re working to stop the fire from getting worse until conditions improve for us to do more.

‘We’ve assessed the situation and there is currently no risk to life in the path of the fire. We will continue to monitor the spread of the fire with spotters and a drone and change our tactics if needed.’ 

The fire was thought to be on a remote stretch of the moorland and no residents or animals were injured, according to reports. 

Rob Steemson, Dartmoor National Park emergency officer, estimated the blaze to be around 5km (3.1 miles) wide. 

The fire pictured from a distance. The blaze comes in stark contrast to vast swathes of the UK that have been left frozen over

The fire pictured from a distance. The blaze comes in stark contrast to vast swathes of the UK that have been left frozen over

The fire service earlier deployed five pumps and other units at the area near Tavy Cleave, a few miles north east of Tavistock, in a bid to tackle the fire - for which an investigation is being carried out to determine its cause

The fire service earlier deployed five pumps and other units at the area near Tavy Cleave, a few miles north east of Tavistock, in a bid to tackle the fire – for which an investigation is being carried out to determine its cause

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service earlier said the blaze was near Tavy Cleave, a few miles north east of Tavistock

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service earlier said the blaze was near Tavy Cleave, a few miles north east of Tavistock

Smoke seen billowing after the fire broke out at Dartmoor National Park. The blaze was stoked by fierce south-westerly winds

Smoke seen billowing after the fire broke out at Dartmoor National Park. The blaze was stoked by fierce south-westerly winds

Witnesses described the scene as biblical as large clouds of smoke filled the sky and the hills were seen backlit as silhouettes

Witnesses described the scene as biblical as large clouds of smoke filled the sky and the hills were seen backlit as silhouettes

The blaze on Dartmoor. In recent days there have been a spate of arson attacks on moorland in Devon and Cornwall. On Wednesday, a suspected deliberate fire tore through approximately 50 acres of the Rosenannon Downs Nature Reserve

The blaze on Dartmoor. In recent days there have been a spate of arson attacks on moorland in Devon and Cornwall. On Wednesday, a suspected deliberate fire tore through approximately 50 acres of the Rosenannon Downs Nature Reserve

How Beast from the East has fuelled raging wildfires across Britain

The Beast from the East has caused a rare phenomenon in Britain – raging wild fires.

The extreme cold caused curing or drying out vegetation contributing to fires in Devon, Cornwall and Scotland.

Area commander Bruce Farquharson, from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said winter fires were not uncommon due to extreme cold ‘curing’ or drying out vegetation, and happened in Antarctica, Norway and. Scandinavia.

He said: ‘It is counter-intuitive for almost everybody but the risk is there, the vegetation is tinder dry and it just takes the slightest spark to ignite the fire and it will burn very quickly and spread very quickly.’

A huge fire fuelled by fierce winds that engulfed swathes of Dartmoor on Thursday night was understood to have stopped spreading by Friday morning. 

The location of the blaze – for which the cause is being investigated – made it increasingly difficult for firefighters from the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to reach.

He said it was not clear how or where the fire started, but that ‘strong’ winds were pushing it further across the moorland.

Mr Steemson added that park rangers were in attendance along with the fire service. He said that the fire was stoked by fierce south-westerly winds.

An eyewitness earlier told Plymouth Live: ‘I’m sat on the top of the hill but fire appliances can’t get up to the fire because the roads are all frozen.

‘It looks like they will just have to let it burn out; there is nothing they can do. I can see some little flames from where I am but it is mainly a big orange glow.’

In recent days there have been a spate of arson attacks on moorland in Devon and Cornwall. 

On Wednesday, a suspected deliberate fire tore through approximately 50 acres of the Rosenannon Downs Nature Reserve near Wadebridge.

The cause of the Dartmoor fire is not known at this stage. Area commander Bruce Farquharson from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service speculated that the extreme cold cause wild fires in other parts of the UK, specifically Cornwall and Scotland, as icy conditions dried out vegetation.

Some social media users had speculated it could have been a controlled burn that got out of hand while others suggested no one would be carrying out controlled burns with such high winds. 

Meanwhile, the Thames has frozen over for the first time in 60 years after temperatures in England plunged to record lows overnight. 

Seagulls perched on the frozen water on the River Thames in Teddington on Friday morning as it iced over for the first time since Britain’s Big Freeze in 1963.

The cold snap looks set to continue as bookies slashed the odds on Valentine’s day being the coldest on record to 7/2. 

Rob Steemson, Dartmoor national Park emergency officer, thinks the fire is around 5km wide and is continuing to spread

Rob Steemson, Dartmoor national Park emergency officer, thinks the fire is around 5km wide and is continuing to spread

A picture taken from Saltash showing the fire in Dartmoor national park lighting up the night sky even from miles away

A picture taken from Saltash showing the fire in Dartmoor national park lighting up the night sky even from miles away

The flames could reportedly be seen in the night sky from as far away as Plymouth and Cornwall as firefighters struggled to get to the scene

The flames could reportedly be seen in the night sky from as far away as Plymouth and Cornwall as firefighters struggled to get to the scene

The fire was estimated to be about 3.1 miles wide. The cause is not yet known and is being investigated, according to the fire service

The fire was estimated to be about 3.1 miles wide. The cause is not yet known and is being investigated, according to the fire service

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