Firefighters leave scene of devastating blaze in ‘Winnie the Pooh forest’

Firefighters left the scene of last night’s massive fire on Ashdown Forest at 10am this morning (Monday, April 29) but were due to carry out a re-inspection later.

Monday, 29th April 2019, 6:05 pm
Updated Monday, 29th April 2019, 6:23 pm

Flames ripped through an area of the ‘Winnie the Pooh forest’ the size of six large football pitches.

You can watch footage from the scene at the top of this story, courtesy of Eddie Mitchell.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called to the King’s Standing area shortly after 9.30pm.

Scene of the Ashdown Forest fire - drone photo by Eddie Mitchell SUS-190429-171753001

At its height, firefighters from Crowborough, Mayfield, Heathfield, Uckfield, Forest Row, Lewes and Seaford - together with support from West Sussex and Kent Fire and Rescue - were fighting the flames.

They used Land Rovers and all-terrain vehicles to access the site and used beaters and flexpacks to tackle the blaze.

They were supported by Ashdown Forest Rangers and Sussex Police who used a drone to survey the fire ground.

Incident Commander Andrew Gausden said: “We received numerous calls at 9.30 last night from members of the public and the police regarding a fire in the Ashdown Forest.

A wall of flames in the King's Standing area

“The fire took hold quickly and was significant with approximately 15 hectares alight in a valley area behind the back of Duddleswell.

“It is always challenging with forest fires in gaining access. We used off road vehicles [five Land Rovers] and received assistance from Kent Fire and Rescue who brought in their all-terrain vehicles to help access the scene.

“We do not know the cause of the fire yet. We are working closely with Sussex Police and the Ashdown Forest Rangers to investigate the cause.

“We are not looking at it being a deliberate fire at this time. Investigations will take place over the next few days.

Scene of the Ashdown Forest fire - drone photo by Eddie Mitchell SUS-190429-171817001

“We would like to thank West Sussex Fire and Rescue, Kent Fire and Rescue, Ashdown Forest Rangers and Sussex Police for their assistance with this incident.”