Saturday, 3 June 2017

Fire on the Marsh

It was with some shock that I received a text on Sunday 28 May telling me that there was a fire engine in the middle of the marsh. I wasn't able to get down to see what damage had been caused until the Wednesday, and found, to my relief, that very little damage had occurred.

The fire had almost literally been in the exact middle of the marsh and had damaged approximately 2 acres of grass land. At the time of writing, I do not know what had started the fire, but I was relieved at the relatively small amount of damage - it could have been so much worse!

I didn't stay for too long as my main reason for being down the patch was to do a butterfly transect before going into work later on. So I had to wait until my next day off on the Saturday before I could explore the affected area in more detail.

The plan for Saturday had been to do a bumblebee transect before going over to have a look. I arrived at the start point and had even written down my start time, when I noticed smoke coming from where the fire had been. So I ditched to transect and hurried over to assess what was happening before calling out the Fire Service.

As I arrived, I could see that there had been another fire and the affected area had grown considerably and now covered about a quarter of the marsh. I do not know if last weekend's fire had flared up again, or whether this was a second arson attack, but it was devastating to see. The thought of how much wildlife had been killed was dreadful and it was with a heavy heart that I started to have a look around to see if anything could be found.

There was still smoke rising in several places, but this was within the area that had already been burned and was unlikely to cause any further problems, but a denser patch of thicker smoke caught my attention in one corner and I could see some actual flames. Luckily, the fire had only just flared up again and I was able to stamp it out before it could spread any further.

An overhead kestrel was using the bare patch to its advantage and was hunting all around the patch. A number of bumblebees were seen heading into holes in the ground, so would seem to have escaped the flames, but the same couldn't be said for a grass snake that I found all curled up close to a dyke. I don't know if it was caught out by the fire, or whether it was already dead.

Dead grass snake


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