Aerial photo shows fire-scorched earth after blaze swept Wirral marshland

19 March 2022, 22:12 | Updated: 20 March 2022, 09:43

Huge fire breaks out on Wirral marshland

By Sophie Barnett

A huge fire broke out on marshland on the Wirral, with nearby homes evacuated over fears the "wall of flames" could reach nearby properties.

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Fire engines were scrambled to the scene in Parkgate, near Neston, on Saturday evening after a blaze which is suspected to have been caused deliberately.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters were dealing with two areas of fire and are using beaters and hoses in an attempt to extinguish the flames.

This aerial photo shows the scale of damage done to the area of marshland
This aerial photo shows the scale of damage done to the area of marshland. Picture: Ben Hulme

The fire was extinguished early this morning.

A fire break was set up to protect nearby properties.

A close up of the aftermath of the fire
A close up of the aftermath of the fire. Picture: @anthony1981feb

Police have been advised as it is suspected that the fire has been started deliberately, with a fire investigator also in attendance.

A fire has broken out in the Wirral.
A fire has broken out in the Wirral. Picture: @ilovetolift13

Eyewitness Peter Guy, 43, who was visiting nearby Parkgate on a day trip, told the BBS the fire took hold of the field, creating a "wall of flames" across the marshland.

"It started off looking like a regular bonfire and then I noticed the fire getting closer to us," he said.

"There were so many people there enjoying the beautiful sunset. I've never seen anything like it. It was like the sky was on fire."

Station manager Carl Nevitt, the officer in charge of the incident, said: "The marshland is a site of special scientific interest.

"The fire is covering around one square kilometre of the area and is being driven by wind.

"We have created fire breaks to protect properties and the police air support unit has been used to give us information on the directional spread of the blaze.

"We expect to remain at the scene for at least the next three to four hours and would ask that people stay away from the area as we tackle the fire."

At around 9.20pm one fire engine had withdrawn and crews were leaving the fire to burn due to unstable ground.

People took to social media to share pictures and videos of the blaze, with the huge orange flames seen raging from as far as north Wales.

One Twitter user described the fire as a "dreadful sight".

Another wrote: "This is terrible and a disaster for wildlife at the start of the breeding season."

An RSPB spokesperson said: "We're shocked and saddened by the fire that has devastated the Neston Reedbed part of our reserve this evening.

"The full extent of the damage won't be known until daylight tomorrow, and we'll share further details once more information emerges."