Aerial pictures of Dartmoor fire reveal extent of damage

  • Watch Claire Manning's full report

ITV News has been given special access to film from the air the extent of the damage caused by the fire which broke out on Dartmoor earlier this month.

With the permission of the land owners the Duchy of Cornwall, a crew from ITV West Country News flew a drone over the area North East of Tavistock.

The blaze which took hold of around 5 kilometres (3.1miles) of moorland near the valley of Tavy Cleave, lit up the night sky on Thursday 11th February and could be seen by people more than 20 miles away.

Seeing the aerial pictures for the first time, Adrian Colston from the Centre for Rural Policy Research said he was shocked to see the extent of the damage caused.

He said "I suppose the thing that strikes me first of all is just the absolute scale of it, it is just a huge, huge area it really is quite shocking how much it has caught fire really."

Strong winds helped the fire to spread Credit: ITV News

Fire crews say it was only the lack of wind on the night and the many small water courses on the moor at this time of year, that helped prevent the fire from spreading further.

"What could have been a real problem is if it had caught fire into the peat and the peat had caught fire as well" adds Adrian, "Peat is really really important in our fight against climate change because what it does is it is taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and growing it and storing it in the peat, if that catches fire of course it releases all of the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere and makes the climate worse."

Investigations have since found the fire was caused accidentally by a member of the public.

Devon and Somerset Fire Service are asking people to avoid using any naked flames when on the moor. People are also being reminded not to travel to the moor in lockdown unless it is an essential journey.

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