Sussex

Wildfires strike Ashdown 'Winnie the Pooh' forest

Blaze in the Ashdown Forest Image copyright Dan Jessup
Image caption Around 65 firefighters are tackling the flames

Two large fires broke out in a forest made famous by AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh novels.

Two separate blazes started within an hour of each other in the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex.

Firefighters said "unusual warm weather this week" meant the ground was drier than usual, and could lead to a greater risk of outdoor fires.

More than 35 hectares of woodland had been affected, with both fires spreading.

The first fire, in Nutley, was reported at 12:30 GMT, while the second, less than two miles away, was reported at about 13:30.

At least 65 firefighters were at both sites, the fire service added.

Image copyright Dan Jessup
Image caption Both fires appear to be spreading

Seven appliances, a specialist Land Rover and a Command Support Unit were called out to Nutley, and there are a further six appliances at the second blaze near Kidds Hill.

The fires were brought under control by 17:00 GMT, with crews damping down for hot spots.

Both incidents were scaled back at dusk, and crews have now left the scene.

Some people were temporarily unable to gain access their properties, but there were no injuries reported.

Ashdown Forest was the setting for AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh books.

Temperatures of 17C were recorded earlier in the day, compared with the average maximum temperature for February of 9C.

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