40 firefighters tackle large blaze which delayed horse races in Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Archant
There were dramatic scenes in Caister as a large fire took hold on the dunes – witnessed by hundreds of shocked race-goers and many more on live television.
The fire started in scrub and gorse close to Seashore Caravan Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday evening, quickly spreading to Great Yarmouth
and Caister Golf Club and northwards towards the lifeboat station.
Large plumes of smoke were visible from miles away and the spectacle attracted hundreds of people to the beach keen to capture the action.
Speaking at the scene incident commander Tim Edwards said around 30-hectares were ablaze but no buildings were at risk.
Initially the operation was hampered by buffeting winds, and there were concerns for the many onlookers had the wind direction changed.
He said some 40 firefighters, from at least eight crews, were tackling the blaze that took hold on tinder dry grassland.
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Among those training their lenses on the action was Erica Lowe of Coopers Close in Caister. She said she had popped to the beach to take some scenic snaps and was there when the drama unfolded.
“I know it’s not nice,” she said. “But it’s an opportunity. I would not have deliberately come down here.”
Great Yarmouth Racecourse tweeted its thanks to the fire service for their “fantastic work”.
Another fireman at the scene said the fire had been contained by around 6.30pm.
He said: “The fire is now surrounded and sectorised with different people in charge of their own sectors. We have knocked the main fire front down and the concentration is now to prevent that from reigniting and damping down.
“It was complicated because of the wind conditions. They had a difficult time at first because it was difficult to establish the direction. We are still going to be here some time.”
Holidaymaker Geoff Fensome at Seashore and said some caravans had been evacuated.
While one race at Great Yarmouth Racecourse was delayed, they were quickly resumed, though footage of the blaze was broadcast live on the At the Races station.
Adding to the difficulty was another call to a domestic fire at the same time in Market Row, Yarmouth, which required three engines.