Rogate firepit warning after blaze alert

A severe fire in woodland at Fyning Common, near Rogate, has led to fresh calls to abandon a plan to rebuild firepits on the nearby recreation ground.

Fire crews from six stations in West Sussex and Hampshire spent five hours on Friday (May 25) tackling the blaze in a large area of dense tree growth.

Appliances from Midhurst and Petworth, which had been attending an alert in Midhurst, were sent straight from there to Rogate.

Matt Gamblen, Midhurst’s crew manager, said later: “It was quite a fire, involving five to six acres of dense woodland.

“It was caused by electricity cables arcing out and it spread quickly because the conditions were so dry.

Last year a bitter row erupted over the rebuilding of deteriorating firepits on Fyning recreation ground, adjacent to the woodland where Friday’s blaze occurred.

Friday’s incident has re-awakened the issue as Rogate Parish Council prepares to renew and regulate the use of the firepits, reducing the number to provide only one permanent ground pit with a fire-proof base and allowing one temporary pit fire. Any additional fires would have to be portable and raised off the ground.

Full story Midhurst and Petworth Observer May 31.