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Crews battle ‘arduous heat’ at Cromer cliff top blaze

PUBLISHED: 14:55 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:15 04 July 2018

Fire on cliff near Cromer lighthouse. Pictures: David Bale

Fire on cliff near Cromer lighthouse. Pictures: David Bale

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A fire on a cliff near Cromer lighthouse is now under control, but crews will remain on site for another four or five hours dampening down.

Fire on cliff near Cromer lighthouse. Pictures: David BaleFire on cliff near Cromer lighthouse. Pictures: David Bale

Crews were alerted to an area of bracken and gorse measuring about 300 sq metres ablaze at about 10.10am today.

A column of thick, white smoke could be seen rising over the area, before it turned a darker, brownish-grey colour.

Fire crews were unable get their vehicles close to the fire, and used extendable hoses to battle the blaze.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue station manager John Baker said: “We were mobilised to a fire on the cliff, not far from the beach, which was working its way upwards.

Fire on cliff near Cromer lighthouse. But you can't interrupt a game of golf - see them playing nearby. Pictures: David BaleFire on cliff near Cromer lighthouse. But you can't interrupt a game of golf - see them playing nearby. Pictures: David Bale

“On arrival we discovered a developing fire. We used backpacks and beaters.

“It was extremely difficult terrain as there was no real access to it. We had six fire appliances and a water carrier on scene and three main jets.

“Crews are working extremely hard in arduous heat. We expect to be on site another four or five hours dampening down.

“There are a couple of tents down there, near where the fire started, but we don’t know the cause of the blaze. No-one was injured.”

A thick column of smoke rises from the scene of the fire in Cromer. Picture: Jeremiah WilliamsonA thick column of smoke rises from the scene of the fire in Cromer. Picture: Jeremiah Williamson

He thanked the RNLI, the Coastguard and the Royal Cromer Golf Club for their help in tackling the blaze.

Jonathan Moore, the club’s manager, said: “We let them fill up their water tanks from our irrigation system around the golf course.

“We had to close off about half a hole because of the fire. There was a potential risk of the golf balls hitting the fire trucks. “But the golfers carried on as normal, apart from that. They don’t like anything to interrupt their games.”

Cromer RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched to help firefighters get more hoses up to the scene of the blaze.

The fire near Cromer lighthouse (Image: Richard Graveling)The fire near Cromer lighthouse (Image: Richard Graveling)

The Coastguard rescue teams have been assisting the Norfolk fire service with transporting their fire-fighting equipment along the beach. The Coastguard are also ensuring the firefighters and general public are safe and staying away from clifftops.

Tracey Hall, the wife of lighthouse keeper, Michael Hall, said an area of bracken between the clifftop Royal Cromer Golf Club and the beach was affected.

She said: “The fire is in the basin between the beach and the golf course. Everywhere is just so dry that it will take a lot of getting under control.”

Sue Meek, a holidaymaker who is staying at the lighthouse cottages, said she went outside for a cup of tea and saw bits of ash floating through the air.

Fire crews were called to the scene of the blaze near Cromer Lighthouse. Picture: DAVID 'HUBBA' ROBERTSFire crews were called to the scene of the blaze near Cromer Lighthouse. Picture: DAVID 'HUBBA' ROBERTS

Holidaymaker Paul Kingham, from Morecambe in Lancashire, called the fire service at 10.10am.

He said: “It got worse after that. The trouble is that the wind was blowing off the coast. Thankfully, it did not spread outward, though. It’s obviously not easy to put out.”

Crews from Cromer, Fakenham, Mundesley, North Walsham and Sheringham fire stations attended the scene, off Cromer Road. An ambulance was also called.

The fire appliances were parked on the top of the cliff.

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