Thursday, 29 March 2012

Fears again for Dorset wildlife over dry spell


Rare birds, lizards and insects are under threat due to a dry spell which led to five heath fires last weekend, the Dorset Wildlife Trust has said.
A third of Upton Heath was devastated by a fire in June last year - Dorset's largest heath fire for 35 years.
It destroyed nesting habitats of Dartford warblers and nightjars.
The heath is also home to all six British species of reptiles, including rare sand lizards and smooth snakes as well as the common lizard, slow worms, grass snakes and adders.
Last weekend, 20 firefighters battled a new blaze on Upton Heath close to the scene of last year's major fire.
There were four other heath fires in Dorset as well as a 70-acre fire in Ashdown Forest in Sussex as temperatures soared to unseasonable highs.
'Very twitchy'
Upton Heath ranger Andy Fale said he was feeling "very twitchy at the moment" due to the dry conditions.
"It's incredibly dry, we haven't had any sensible rain for some time," he said.
"We need the rain for many reasons. It's good for the wildlife and there's the risk of fire."
Communications officer for the trust Nicky Hoar agreed.

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