Huge blaze caused by 'firework' breaks out at nature reserve on Isles of Scilly

Firefighters were called just after 9.30pm, following a 999 call. Credit: Hillside Farm Bryher

A huge blaze believed to have been caused by a firework started at a nature reserve on the Isles of Scilly.

Firefighters were called to Bryher just after 9.30pm, following a 999 call on 17 May.

Lucy McRobert from the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, said two local farmers witnessed the area catching fire.

She said: "Whilst walking back they heard two big bangs, saw that one of them was a firework and watched it drop into the dunes system right next to their farm.

"This is a SSSI area, it's protected for its wildlife importance and they watched as the area caught, Bryher is a very dry island, the whole of the Isles of Scilly is quite dry so it caught quickly and there was a big community response as fire fighters rushed to the scene and luckily managed to get the area under control as soon as possible.”

A picture of the scene showed thick smoke as huge flames burnt across the area in the dunes near to Rushy Bay.

Fire crews from Bryher and Tresco worked to stop the spread. Around 50 square meters was burnt by direct fire.

The land has been scorched by the fire. Credit: Hillside Farm Bryher

The fire was extinguished by 10.25pm.

A spokesperson for the Council of the Isles of Scilly said: "It is believed that the fire was started by a firework landing in the heath.

"Our Fire and Rescue Service would like to take this opportunity to remind the public of the associated dangers and risks of using fireworks, fire lanterns and BBQ’s particularly as we are now experiencing warmer weather with a drying out ground and vegetation.

"We would urge the public not to use and fireworks or fire lanterns and to follow our fire safety guidance when using BBQ’s."

Lucy McRobert says the fire could have had a large impact on local wildlife if it hadn't been contained.

She said: “We were very very lucky that the response was so quick from the local community fire fighters.

"I dread to think what would have happened if that hadn’t happened or if we had strong winds, we were very lucky the fire was contained to the dune area.

"Next door to that there’s an area of grassland designated for some incredible species including the dwarf pansy, this is the only place pretty much in the UK that these species is found, the whole area is known for its botany and its natural beauty, if that area had caught, we don’t know what the impact would’ve been on these species.”