'Idiots could kill someone by starting wildfires'

An attempted fire in a Bowthorpe wood has prompted more warnings about fire safety.

An attempted fire in a Bowthorpe wood has prompted more warnings about fire safety. - Credit: Jon Watson

Yobbos who have started fires in a city suburb have been warned they are risking people's lives.

The stark warning comes just weeks after 20ft high wildfires swept across open fields in Poringland. 

A blackened patch of land, along with burnt wood stumps, was spotted on July 27 at a woodland area between Earlham Park Lane and the Rayne Park Development site in Bowthorpe.

The Bowthorpe woodland was left with burnt wood stumps and a patch of the ground was scorched.

An area of Bowthorpe woodland which was left with burnt wood stumps and a patch of the ground was scorched - Credit: Jon Watson

And two days later paper was set alight in woodland on Bowthorpe Park in Clover Hill, according to the Bowthorpe Neighbourhood Watch volunteer group. Local folk put out the small blaze before it spread.

Jon Watson, lead co-ordinator of the Bowthorpe Neighbourhood Watch Team.

Jon Watson, lead co-ordinator of the Bowthorpe Neighbourhood Watch Team. - Credit: Jon Watson

Jon Watson, lead co-ordinator and neighbourhood warden of Bowthorpe Neighbourhood Watch, said: "Our team has come across several attempts at fires around Bowthorpe recently - this is despite the continued warnings of the danger.

"The deliberate attempts are putting lives, wildlife and property in danger. We have seen the amazing work Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has done to tackle grass fires in our county but we urge people to stop putting a strain on emergency resources.

"Norwich City Council has previously said that fires are not permitted in their public spaces and we will continue to pass information to police."

Sue Sands, Norwich City Councillor for Bowthorpe ward, asked anyone with any information to come for

Sue Sands, Norwich City Council member for Bowthorpe ward - Credit: Mike Sands

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Labour city councillors and couple, Mike and Sue Sands, who represent Bowthorpe, said: "Having lived our early lives in Australia we know just how dangerous a spark or purposely lit fire can be when the land is a tinderbox.

"We ask people to continue their vigilance and to contact the emergency services straight away as we have witnessed the massive devastation bushfires can cause.

"Walking our dogs in Bowthorpe Southern Park, we have seen evidence of small fires or barbecues. We would ask people to keep in mind that these are dangerous, especially in woodland, parkland or countryside.

"A seemingly small fire can quickly get out of control. Sparks can travel long distances while disposable barbecues generate a lot of heat and grass beneath them can easily ignite and spread flames."

John Gilbert went into the flames to retrieve his mother's wheelchair so he could whisk her to safety

John Gilbert, who lives in Poringland - Credit: John Gilbert

Delivery driver John Gilbert, 46, from Windmill Close in Poringland, whose mother's garden in the same village was destroyed by the recent spate of blazes, said: "If the fires were deliberate there is something seriously wrong with people."

Devastation of village fire

Homes and gardens in a large village were ruined after 20ft flames ripped through woodland and a field during the heatwave.

Fire in Poringland. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

An aerial shot of West View in Poringland, which was severely scorched by flames in a fire on July 19 - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Poringland was one of the many communities and nature spots devastated by fire which broke out across the county as temperatures hit 40C.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service raced to the village at 2.15pm on July 19 to reports of a fire near Shotesham Road and Leafy Oak Lane.

The blaze began in a field before spreading through woods and ended up gutting two homes and an annex near Shotesham Road.

Phillip Rooke's garage was scorched and shed completely burned down during Tuesday's blaze in Poringland

A fire-damaged garage in Poringland - Credit: Maya Derrick

It also caused serious damage to droves of gardens.

Mr Gilbert's mother's garden in West View, Poringland, was badly damaged by the flames.

He added the flames were 20ft high in places and he and other homeowners are on edge after the disaster.