Volunteers devastated as blaze at Dane Valley Woods damages 25% of site

Fire damage Photo Dane Valley Woods group

A fire at Dane Valley Woods today (August 31) has damaged around a quarter of the site.

The undergrowth blaze was reported to Kent Fire & Rescue Service at 3.35pm. Six fire engines and an all-terrain vehicle attended.

The fire started near the allotments and forest school and spread as it was fanned by the wind.

Crew at the scene Photo Adrian Handley

A spokesperson for the Dane Valley Woods group said: “We are sorry to report that there was a very large fire at the woods this afternoon, attended by six fire appliances in total.

“From ground based assessment we estimate that approximately 25% of the site was affected. It started on the north-western side near the allotments and forest school, spread quickly southwards fanned by the wind, and even jumped across the cycle path and nearly reached the railway line.

Photo Frank Leppard

“We are very grateful to Kent Fire and Rescue Service for their hard work in preventing the fire spreading any further.

“Sadly the area where we planted our Curve Coffee Roasters sponsored trees was badly affected and we do not know at this stage how many will survive.

Photo Dane Valley Woods group

“In our discussions with the fire officers the cause remains unknown. Fortunately no one was hurt, although the damage to wildlife and their habitat is severe.

Photo Frank Leppard

“For a community group that is run entirely by volunteers, clearly this is a devastating blow. We will be taking time to assess and come to terms with the situation over the course of the next few weeks.”

Photo Frank Leppard

The Dane Valley Woods group is a volunteer-led project in Margate, growing and maintaining the 13 acre woodland on a former landfill site, for the enjoyment of the residents.

Visit the group’s facebook page or check out the website at www.danevalleywoods.org