Sand dunes hit by arson attack

Firefighters tackle a blaze on the sand dunes on Clifton Drive North
Firefighters tackle a blaze on the sand dunes on Clifton Drive North
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CALLS for action were today made after firefighters were engulfed by flames as they battled with an arson attack on St Annes dunes.

Local councillors and fire chiefs have appealed to residents to watch out for people acting suspiciously on the dunes, as the attack is the latest in a string of deliberate fires.

The fire, which happened just before 5pm on Friday near Kilgrimol Gardens, is still being investigated.

Jeff Keegan, crew manager for St Annes fire station, said: “It was quite a big fire and had been going for at least five minutes before we knew about it.

“It was definitely deliberate and it must have taken some lighting to get it going like that.

“People should report anything suspicious as the fire can spread quickly.”

Two fire crews used grass beaters and fire extinguishers to put the blaze out.

Coun Keith Hyde, of Heyhouses ward, said: “This has happened a number of times.

“Not only is it dangerous for walkers but it is extremely bad for the sand dunes, which are our sea defences.

“It usually happens at night so this latest incident was unusual.

“If you see anyone acting suspiciously on the dunes I would urge them to contact the fire service and the police.”

In 2008, a Fylde Sand Dunes Management Plan was implemented, after a study showed there was an estimated 84 per cent decline in sand dune habitat for wildlife.

St Annes dunes are recognised as an Important Bird Area, with more than 100,000 birds choosing to winter there.