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By lily2


Some of you will have seen the recent forest fires in Berkshire on the news. At the height of the fires over 300 firefighters were tackling the blaze and several major roads were closed for over a week causing major traffic chaos. This was a only very short lived nuisance compared to the devastation of 4 sq km of Swinley Forest which will take many years to recover.

The Forestry Comission have been very busy making the roads and woodland pathways safe by felling the worst affected trees. What with that and the road closures it’s only now that we’re able to see the damage for ourselves. Here are some photos I took yesterday….

This is the road into Crowthorne where I live, it used to be a very pleasant tree lined road. Here we are just leaving the burnt area….

now some parts just outside Crowthorne look like this with many damaged trees felled….

fortunately the fire was contained and didn’t cross the road so nearly all the trees on the other side were saved.

The other more badly affected road was the Crowthorne by-pass with the fire on both sides

This road was built about 15 years ago and cuts through the forest, it was just getting nicely mature and wooded again. This is a view of the section unaffected by the fire

I walked a short way into the forest along one of the wide paths

A strong smell of burnt wood still prevails even though much clearance work has been done. A lot of trees with burnt trunks but still with green foliage have been left, presumably they are expected to survive.

These pics don’t really show the scale of the damage as I wasn’t able to find anywhere with a clear view without venturing further. I didn’t want to do this as I was alone and found it a bit shocking and rather unpleasant.

Such a loss to our local pleasant surroundings but devastating for all those creatures to whom the forest was ‘home’. :o((

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How awful... i hate to see anything like this.... it brought tears to my eyes when i saw all the woodlands on fire on the news..... It will take years to grow again.....when i lived in Surrey the woods near us often used to catch alight in the summer... and when the hurricane of 87 came all the pine trees and lovely elm trees came down completely changing the way the countryside was.... it all grew back but different.....

17 May, 2011


how terrible lily, was this with the sun or did some one start the fires, all them poor creatures, very sad to see.didnt realise it had been so hot to start this.

17 May, 2011


Its just dreadful Lily, total devastation. It will obviously be many years before the woods are back to their former glory. So sorry, I ticked the `like` box before I read this. :o(

17 May, 2011


Yes it brought tears to my eyes too Holly the first time I drove down the roads, it looks so ravaged. The hurricane of 87 certainly caused very widespread devastation but at least that was definitely all down to nature.
No one knows for sure San but the fires had been smouldering underground in the peaty soil for some time and with no rain for 2 months they took off when it got windy. Was very warm too.
I expect we'll get used to seeing it like this Sandra but I shall misss the roadside trees the most. Never mind the 'like', easily done :o)

17 May, 2011


That's a huge area of damage, Lily, so very sad to see so much loss of trees, not to mention the habitat for wildlife. The penultimate photo shows the density of the ash on the forest floor. A very sad event. : o (((

17 May, 2011


I haven't been down towards Crowthorne since the fires Lily, in fact I was away when it happened. At least there was no loss of human life or homes destroyed

17 May, 2011


Oh Lily, I can understand how awful you must have felt but Andrew is right, it could have been so much worse,
it will recover.
The worst thing about a lot of the fires is that they are very often started deliberately by what can only be described as mindless morons, thats being polite.....

17 May, 2011


Och Lily, doesn't that just put a lump in your throat. It's terrible the devastation fires cause, and the reminder is always there when you drive down that road, I can see from your pics that it must have been beautiful before that happened.

17 May, 2011


It is a dreadful devastation, but good can come from it. Fires are often deliberately set by Woodsmen to 'sterilise' the ground after insect or plant infestation and, although it obviously takes years to completely recover, it can be better than it was before. Obviously living there will mean you see it every day, but if it was a place you visited the regeneration would be easier to notice. So sad. :o(

18 May, 2011


Yes Shirley, very thick ash in the parts that haven't been cleared yet.
Hi Andrew, only the most badly burnt trees along Crowthorne Road have been felled but along the by-pass they have done mass bulldozing nearest the road so it all looks very clear and strange. Of course you're right about human life and homes being safe :o)
How right you are Lincs about mindless morons, the trouble is there are plenty of them about :o(
Libet, in this part of the country where development is continually forced on us, there are becoming fewer and fewer roads like this so it really is such a pity.
You're right about regeneration Nariz, it's all part of nature and the pine forests will grow back relatively quickly. After all the Forestry Comission are continually felling large areas and replanting them. It will all gradually become 'normal' to look at.

18 May, 2011


That is so sad Lily, lets hope it doesn't start again. Have you had much rain lately? Always I think of the poor creatures.
Must say I am impressed at the speed at which they have been clearing.

18 May, 2011


We had a couple of good spells of rain towards the end of the operation Val but nothing since then apart from one or two miserable little showers but not much sun either. They say it's possible that it's still smouldering underground in places though. I hate to think how much of our already depleted water supplies had to be used too......
Yes the clearing operation is amazing, much of it done before they re-opened the roads so we didn't see it all at it's worst.

18 May, 2011


I hope it has rained since then Lily and maybe some regeneration can happen as a result. It must look really horrible to look at when it was so pretty. Our long drought in Essex has eased over the last week or so with rain all last night. Anywhere that these fires happen always seems to have morons who make it worse.

11 Jun, 2011


It's been dry for weeks Dorjac but we've had some good downpours this last week and the ferns are already growing quite strongly. I imagine the forest pine trees will be replanted but sadly it will be a very long time before the few remaining roadside trees recover. I hope they will replant but somehow I doubt it. I'm glad to hear you've had some good rain at last.

11 Jun, 2011


Oh this is awful... how is it now, some months on? It must have been very unpleasant for you... and all the poor animals! At least the plantlife should recover... weirdly fires are supposed to be good for that (as we were taught in environmental studies, anyway), it won't be the same, but maybe there will be opportunities for other things to grow? I hope things are re-planted and recover.

22 Aug, 2011


Hi Jennyfer. I've been meaning to do another blog but not got around to taking more photos yet. Most of the forest floor seems to be sprouting well and many of the dead looking trees are showing green on their tops too although some worst affectted parts are still completely black. There is a massive replanting scheme in place for the forest but more of the roadside trees have been felled since and I think these will only be replaced by Mother Nature. You're right about fires apparently being good for the ground but no way can it be good for those poor animals and baby birds. :o(

23 Aug, 2011


No the poor things :( and woodlands make such a lovely habitat. I'm glad that things are re-growing though :) Its a real shame about those roadside trees, but I suppose theres not much you can do.

24 Aug, 2011

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