FIRE bosses have launched an investigation after mindless yobs struck again in broad daylight – turning a section of dunes into a dangerous inferno.
The frightening incident saw those who had come to enjoy the sunshine in St Annes having to flee the sands as the fire spread rapidly.
The blaze, which was lit at around 3pm, is believed to have been caused by the same arsonists who struck in the same area just two weeks ago.
Jordan Lawrence, who was almost caught up in the blaze himself, said: “I saw two young guys running away from the scene down one of the side roads, just after the fire started.
“It was too late to put it out because it was spreading fast with the wind.
“We ran down to the main road and told some passers-by to phone the fire brigade.
“It’s plain stupid to start something like this”
Crew manager Pete Derbyshire, from St Annes Fire Station, said: “We were alerted after members of the public spotted the blaze, due to the sheer number of calls coming in, we had to send out two fire crews.
“There was a fire started here just two weeks ago in a similar place. We believe both were started deliberately, probably by the same people.
“At this stage, there is not much point in bringing in the police, because whoever have started the blaze are long gone by now.
“The blaze itself was easily extinguished after about 10 minutes, although it was large.
“We used beaters and aqua packs to quell the flames and the grass should be able to recover
“The dunes are designed to be burned every once in a while, although not with the frequency of fires we are now seeing.”
Emily Johnson, who narrowly missed being caught in the fire, said: “We were sitting just below the fire and didn’t even notice it until we heard a ‘crackling’ sound.
“When we turned around, there was a ball of fire right overhead!
“We couldn’t really believe what was happening, it was a bit surreal.”
Some members of the public called for more thorough patrols of the beach, but beach ranger Adam Pennington said: “Our main responsibility is to ensure the safety of the public, as well as providing activities for all people to enjoy.
“As soon as we spotted the fire, we made sure people stood at a safe distance.
“It’s shocking this has happened again.”