Probe continues into nature reserve blaze

Aftermath of the fire on the dunes at At Annes. photo: Dave Hyland
Aftermath of the fire on the dunes at At Annes. photo: Dave Hyland
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Investigations are continuing into a blaze which caused severe damage to a substantial part of a Fylde nature reserve.

The main route between Blackpool and St Annes had to be closed for several hours as a fire in the sand dunes sent smoke billowing across the road on Saturday afternoon.

But initial indications appear to be that any damage has been confined to burned grass and no wildlife has been harmed.

Birds, lizards, toads and newts are all among the occupants of the reserve, but a Fylde Council spokesman said: “The fire has burned a significant area of vegetation but we have no evidence to date that any wildlife was harmed.”

Lisa Foden, Fylde’s parks and coastal services manager, added: “We estimate that approximately 25 per cent of the nature reserve habitat was lost in the fire.

“Staff from Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Fylde Council’s parks and coast service are surveying, photographing and mapping the full extent of the damage to provide us with a clearer picture on how the flora and fauna has been affected.

“We will also work with the emergency services to gather any intelligence on what caused the fire – we do not know the source or cause at present.

“We will need to wait for the vegetation to recover naturally and will be increasing uniformed site patrols and warning signage on the site to deter anti-social behaviour.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said: “Evidence has been gathered, as is the case with all such incidents, and the cause will be looked into. But with current major commitments, notably the Winter Hill fire, the investigation is likely to take longer than might usually be the case.”