On Saturday afternoon on April 31st a forest fire was started in Swinely forest in south Ascot near Bracknell and Crowthorne. Arson is suspect of the fire that quickly spread to an area of about 20 acres, burning through the undergrowth and up pine trees as well as spreading through the peat under the ground. Crews from Bracknell and Wokingham Fire Stations as well as four stations in Reading have been fighting all week, with specialists support from Hampshire and Maidenhead.
Families along Woodlands Ride at the edge of the forest were given only 10 minutes to evacuate their homes and have not returned yet, schools closed and the local area is in a general upheaval. The local community has pulled together to support the rescue workers, of which include 350 fire-fighters from more than 40 crews working around the clock. By Friday - 6 days after it started - the hard working crews are still damping down pockets of flame but the fire seems to be under control and nearing its end.
Traffic in the area has ground to halt, with several major roads closed and the smoke is affecting homes and towns in a 40mile radius. The environmental effect of this catastrophic fire is currently immeasurable, the forest will take decades to recover. Please follow my links to full reports on this fire - I will be keeping a close eye on local news of the drama unfolding in our home town.