The fire rages on farmland and woodland in Blidworth yesterday afternoon. The smoke could seen for miles around.

Blidworth blaze quelled by heroic firefighters after homes evacuated

Blidworth is breathing huge sighs of relief after the round-the-clock heroics of firefighters brought under control a major blaze on farmland and woodland.

By Richard Silverwood
Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 12:46 pm

Many residents had to be evacuated from their homes when the fire raged at its peak yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. Horses also had to be led to safety from their stables and paddocks, while nearby roads were temporarily closed.

Up to 85 firefighters from 15 different crews worked tirelessly through day and night to tackle the blaze, which was declared a major incident by the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The fire started in Blidworth Lane, near Syke Breck Farm, in an area between Haywood Oaks and Blidworth Bottoms. It was first reported at 1.35 pm on the hottest day in the history of the village.

There was a danger it would be carried by the wind and spread to houses in the centre of Blidworth, especially as the ground was tinder dry amid the record-breaking heatwave.

But by 6.45 pm, residents were allowed to return to their homes as a change in wind direction meant the fire was blowing towards the main roads, rather than property.

And by 6 am today, the fire service reported that the blaze was under control, with no reports of any injuries, including to firefighters. It is not yet known how it started.

A fire service spokesman said: “We still have five appliances at the scene. But the fire is surrounded, and our crews are working hard to extinguish any hotspots that appear. Let’s hope the weather is on our side today.”

Station manager Richard Ellis said: “The majority of what is happening in the woods now is just smouldering. The possibility of the fire flaring up to the extent it did yesterday is slim.”

Blidworth residents were full of praise for the efforts of the firefighters. The drama also engendered an admirable sense of community spirit as farmers and villagers helped out where they could, including with the rescue of horses.

A spokesperson for Robert Thomas Farms (RTF), of Haywood Oaks Lane, close to where the fire broke out, said: “It was amazing to see a community come together so selflessly, especially in the heat. Farmers, be proud, we did something special.”

RTF described the blaze as “our worst nightmare”, adding: “A wild fire spread from a neighbouring farm in Blidworth Bottoms, straight through the wood into our own land at Haywood Oaks.

"Frantically, we called anyone we could get hold of to help. The response was absolutely incredible.

”Farmers from far and wide converged with whatever they had, and we managed to get fire breaks around the farm to prevent it spreading to our farmyard or, even worse, to Blidworth village itself.

"We had water tankers carting water to the engines faster than they were using it. It was just brilliant.

"We would like to thank everyone for their help. Without them, we would have lost the farm or the village.”

Similar sentiments came from Blidworth fire station, where a spokesperson said: “A massive thankyou to all the local residents and people who provided us with cold refreshments. They gave the crew a much-needed morale boost.

"Thanks to everyone too for all their kind words of support and encouragement.

"The day was physically and emotionally challenging for everyone involved.”

Here is a collection of photos from the day as it unfolded.

Page 1 of 4