CBC Chat Forum Thread

AuthorTopic: The threat of fire to Kelling Heath.
Noel Elms The threat of fire to Kelling Heath.posted at 16/04/2013 08:38:57

Yesterday saw the first track-side blaze of 2013 caused by the vintage steam engines which trundle their way across the Heath. These events occur on an annual and regular basis throughout the tourist season and by extreme good fortune, the damage to the Heath habitat has been fairly restricted to date. Again by good fortune, most if not all of the fires have been observed at the onset and the fire service has arrived in time to limit the damage.

The railway company does its best to control track-side vegetation in the high risk areas and John Miller and his fellow Heath Trustees installed and maintain a fire break which has proved its worth but only just on one occasion. Even to a non-steam buff, it must be obvious that the engines have to work really hard to negotiate the steep climb onto the Heath after stopping at Weybourne and this  could be the problem, in my view, if maybe spark-suppression equipment or driver technique is not  at its best. At the moment, Natural England are reviewing the status of Kelling Heath as a wildlife habitat, quite what this means for the present status as an SSSI I'm not sure but as part of my involvement with this review, the fire risk will be highlighted.

I'm not anti-steam and in fact along with many other birders, quite the reverse.  My definition of a perfect day on the Heath would be to wallow in good views of Woodlark, Dartford Warbler and Black Prince and I almost forgot, Stonechat. 

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