A DISCARDED cigarette is believed to have been the cause of a massive gorse fire at Fairlight on Monday afternoon.
The blaze, which started at 3.30pm spread across an area of 80 metres by 20 metres.
Four crews from Pevensey, Hastings and Bexhill remained at the scene until 8.30pm, damping down and checking for hot spots.
Two Land Rovers also attended, which are designed to act as a lightweight fire-fighting appliance. They are ideal for accessing rural and remote areas. Each vehicle is fitted with a water tank and pump, hoses and equipment, which can cope with most small rural fires.
Hastings crews returned again on Tuesday morning at 7.30am, and despite the rain found further hot spots.
Now firefighters are urging the public to abide by the countryside code to help prevent more incidents.
Group Commander, Richard Fowler, said: “I would like to praise the crews who worked extremely hard getting the situation under control. These fires don’t go out on their own and firefighters worked side-by-side for many hours, which left them exhausted and very dirty.
“ I would urge the public to contact us immediately if they spot a fire because if left undetected can spread very quickly at this time of the year.”
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offers the following advice to enjoy the countryside safely:
Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe, designated areas.
Put out cigarettes and other smoking materials properly before you leave your vehicle.
Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire.
If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately.
Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.
Fire crews have tackled a number of gorse fires this year, including a serious one at the East Hill end of the Country Park.