Huge grass fire sweeps through beauty spot beside Rotherham reservoir
A South Yorkshire beauty spot has been ravaged by a huge grass fire.
Flames spread rapidly, sending thick plumes of smoke billowing across the night sky, as the fire took hold beside Ulley Reservoir in Rotherham last night.
Firefighters were called at around 7.45pm and five crews spent nearly seven hours battling the blaze before leaving at around 2.30am this morning.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said crew members had returned to the scene later this morning to make sure there were no further flare-ups.
The fire service said the fire was believed to have damaged around a quarter of a square mile, or 160 acres, of grassland, which is equivalent to some 80 football pitches.
It is not known at this stage whether the blaze was started deliberately.
Steve Bradley, who captured this stunning photo of the fire not long after it started, said: “It’s tragic, and if it was started deliberately you have to ask why anyone would do such a thing.
“Given we’re having such a hot spell I would urge people to watch what they’re doing.
“I’m gutted because it’s a beautiful park and just two days ago I was down beside the water taking photos of a swans’ nest near where the fire happened.
“I have utmost respect for the firefighters, who did a great job on what was a boiling evening.”
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said it had been a very busy period across the region, with crews called to numerous grass fires.
Fire chiefs have asked members of the public to take extra care during the hot weather to avoid accidentally causing grass fires.
They say people can help prevent grass fires by:
Not using open fires in the countryside
Making sure any barbecue or disposable barbecue is only used in a suitable location and is extinguished properly after use
Extinguishing cigarettes completely and not throwing cigarette ends on the ground
Not leaving bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires.