An area the size of 5 football pitches destroyed in Lickey Hills Country Park fire
Over 70 firefighters battled overnight to control the Lickey Hills fire, which started on Monday afternoon as heatwave temperatures soared, and fears are growing that a huge area of the iconic beauty spot have been reduced to ash by the catastrophic inferno.
Fire services have confirmed that around 5 hectares – which measures to the size of 5 football pitches – are believed to have been lost in the fire which started around 1:15pm yesterday (Monday 18 July).
Scores of local families, whose houses are in the vicinity of the fire in Rednal, have been evacuated by emergency services in case the fire spreads into residential areas.
Fire crews have warned people to stay away from the Lickey Hills and local residents have been advised to keep windows closed as white ash rises up and disperses across the area and into gardens and properties.
People have also been asked to keep a careful eye on family pets over the next day or so in case animals such as cats wander into the danger zone where smoke is still wafting about as firefighters make the area safe.
Thick plumes of smoke could be seen for miles around yesterday as the fire scorched through the popular beauty spot which is also a haven for wildlife.
There are fears about the environmental catastrophe as natural habitats are destroyed in the blaze and wildlife put into extreme danger.
Fire investigators have yet to issue their findings regarding the cause of the fire but Lickey Hills officials believe a disposable barbecue started the fire.
Lickey Hills Country Park issued a statement saying: “Rednal Hill has a major fire and someone had a disposable BBQ on Bilberry Hill which just set the ground on fire.”