Drone photos show huge gorse fire at Welsh beach as UK temperatures soar

·2-min read

A large gorse fire has broken out above a beach in southwest Wales, as the UK’s unprecedented heatwave sparked warnings of a “very extreme danger” of wildfires.

Drone footage showed flames and smoke billowing from a hill above Newgale beach in Pembrokeshire, where blazes broke out in scrubland on both Sunday and Monday.

Rou Chater, a 46-year-old surfer who captured the footage, was out on the water when he spotted the fire, which he described as “totally out of control” and “the biggest one the area has seen for some time”.

By the end of the day all of the ground towards a nearby campsite and surrounding a holiday home had burned, he said.

Drone photos show a large fire above blue flag beach in Pembrokeshire (Rou Chater / SWNS)
Drone photos show a large fire above blue flag beach in Pembrokeshire (Rou Chater / SWNS)

Firefighters told The Independent on Tuesday that an area of 11 hectares of grass and gorse were scorched the previous day, with crews from Haverfordwest, St Davids, Milford Haven, Narberth, and Fishguard and Whitland all called in to help, using hose reel jets and beaters.

Once extinguished, crews continued to dampen down hot spots in the area until it was safe to leave the scene, shortly before 10pm, the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said.

A European forecaster has warned that there is a “very extreme danger” of fires on Tuesday in an area spanning from Lincolnshire to the Thames Estuary, while a marginally milder warning of “extreme danger” is in force across most of the east of England.

The warning from the European Forest Fire Information System represents the highest level of risk on the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts’ fire weather index.

Across Pembrokeshire, the agency judged there to be a “very low” to “moderate” danger of fires on Tuesday.

The blaze scorched land near a camping ground (Rou Chater / SWNS)
The blaze scorched land near a camping ground (Rou Chater / SWNS)

UK firefighters said on Monday they had attended 24 wildfires in 48 hours in England and Wales - double the number recorded in all of July last year.

“Everything is just tinder dry right across the country,” Paul Hedley, the lead on wildfires for the National Fire Chiefs Council, told The Independent, urging the public to be “really careful” and not to have barbecues or campfires.

It comes as an extreme heatwave in the UK prompted the government to declare the first-ever national heat emergency, with provisional temperatures recorded in recent days breaking all-time heat records in England and Wales, and Scotland expected to follow suit.

While the hottest day on record in England had been 38.7C – measured three years ago – the mercury exceeded 40C in the UK for the first time in history on Tuesday, at London Heathrow, with the Met Office predicting temperatures could even hit 43C.

Additional reporting by SWNS

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