Headland fire not believed to have been started deliberately

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He said that there had been several reports of ‘activity’ in the harbour area where the fire started – near a coastal bench, at the bend of the road.

‘We need to get some history behind who was there and what they have seen,’ Mr Hall said, as the service’s investigation team took over.

Patrons of the Bonne Nuit café on Saturday afternoon spotted the flames near the bench and several called the emergency services, according to owner Ram Puri.

Mr Puri said the café was not directly affected, as the fire was spreading in the opposite direction.

It remained open throughout the incident although, he said, it was very quiet as the Fire Service had closed the road.

Mr Puri said patrons at the café were alarmed before the fire broke out as some boys who appeared to be between 10 and 12 years old had been playing in the area.

‘People were quite upset because they thought they were too young to be out there,’ he said.

When the fire broke out many started taking photos and videos and called 999.

Mr Puri said he hoped it was not a cigarette that caused the fire. ‘It’s very fragile out there,’ he said. ‘Very dry.’

Motorist David Harper said he was travelling up the hill at Les Platons when he spotted the smoke and flames. He stopped to film it from the top of the hill.

‘I was confused as to why the fire brigade didn’t damp down at the bottom of the hill and chose to fight the fire solely from the other end as it was quite clear the fire started from the area close to the benches,’ he said.

Mr Hall said fire officers first went to the harbour area but then took positions up on the cliff path to fight the blaze due to the speed and direction it was travelling.

He said the location was especially challenging as, in addition to being steep and unstable underfoot, there was no nearby water source and lengths and lengths of hose had to be brought up to battle it from above, which delayed getting water onto the flames.

The length of hose required also meant two appliances had to be positioned to support the water flow to ensure sufficient pressure.

It took 26 officers seven hours to get the fire under control and its size meant on-call and reserve firefighters had to be sent out.

No one was evacuated as a result of the fire, however, as it posed no danger to property.

Fire crews remained in the area battling ‘hot spots’ until Monday morning. An area of gorse-covered headland of roughly 200 metres by 250 metres was burnt away.

The Fire Service said the dry and hot conditions were ideal for flames in that area to spread rapidly and encouraged Islanders in the countryside to use extreme caution.

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