Controlled burning of gorse and heather is underway on the Quantocks this week, with rangers advising residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area not to be worried if they see smoke on the hills.

Residents have called the fire brigade in the past, fearing that the smoke and flames has been accidental.

However, volunteer Ranger Dave Pusill explained: “If you see smoke on the Quantock Hills at this time of the year it is more than likely to be swaling – controlled burning – of gorse and heather. This is done annually to generate new growth, particularly heather.”

“The AONB Rangers and National Trust Rangers work together on this with the help of Volunteer Rangers who are fully trained with controlled burning.”

“So, if you see smoke on the hills at this time of year it will be swaling. The fire brigade, police and land owners will be notified by the Rangers before and after the burning. However if you see heavy smoke during the summer months it would be worth contacting the fire brigade just in case.”