Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

August 31, 2005
A year on from devastating fire, Berrow's reed beds have fully recovered

The reed beds near Berrow Church have recovered well, say nature experts

It's exactly one year since a devastating fire tore through a half mile stretch of reed beds at Berrow but, as our photo here shows, the area has recovered well and is once again bursting with wildlife.

The flames burnt a half mile area of the reed beds in front of Berrow ChurchBob Corns, English Nature's Conservation Officer for Bridgwater Bay, told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week: "The Berrow reed bed has now recovered. I had the opportunity to look at it recently and the reed growth was vigorous and recovery was almost complete."

"Reeds are known to recover rapidly from fire but regular burning can have a deleterious effect on nesting birds and invertebrates."

He added: "We were fortunate that last year's burn only affected the new reed bed
near the Church and not the main bed to the south.
It is this bed that holds the most interesting species, particularly breeding birds, and a fire in this bed could be disastrous."

Newspaper headlines immediately after the huge blazeThe fire lit up the skies around Burnham-On-Sea for several hours on September 1, 2004, with the flames quickly spreading across the reed beds to the west of Berrow Church.

Eyewitnesses at the scene saw flames up to five metres high - and firefighters said that an area half a mile long and 500 metres wide was destroyed. The fire was active in at least four areas and was fanned by a brisk westerly wind coming off the Bristol Channel.

Eight fire engines from Burnham-On-Sea, Weston-super-Mare, Bridgwater and Cheddar were called and scores of firefighters with hoses and beaters tried to bring the blaze under control.

Black smoke from the fire and was visible from Burnham-On-SeaA water carrier from Bridgwater and a command support unit from Street were also drafted in to help, along with a police helicopter.

With hot summer temperatures continuing this week, Mr Corns recommended visitors stay vigilant in the area and not engage in activities such as barbecues and small wood fires that pose any risk.


Fire sweeps across reed beds at Berrow

Beach Safety Guide



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