Wildlife harmed by second fire at Avon Meadows

An appeal for information is being made after a fire at Avon Meadows Community Wetland in Pershore.

A fire broke out in the reed beds at the local nature reserve on the evening of Saturday 9 April, harming wildlife.

Concerned locals alerted the fire service, who were able to put the fire out, but not before a significant amount of important wildlife habitat had been destroyed.

This is the second fire in the wetlands in recent weeks, which has been disastrous for this vulnerable habitat and the nesting and breeding creatures that live there, like reed and sedge warblers, who have had their home burned down.

Amphibians like frogs and toads were caught in the blaze, along with the harvest mouse, a recently discovered species for the wetlands.

The intensity of the fire has melted parts of the recycled plastic boardwalk, which remains safe to use but now looks unsightly.

Many of the bird species at Avon Meadows need large, undisturbed areas of reedbed, which is why volunteers carefully manage and maintain it over the winter, and they will be badly affected.

Liz Etheridge, Wildlife Sites and Project Officer for Wychavon District Council, said: "One fire could be seen as accidental, but two fires looks like a deliberate attack on the nature reserve.

"When wildlife is under threat across the world, places like Avon Meadows give us hope that communities working together can make a positive difference to our environment, in spite of the thoughtless damage caused by incidents like this.

"I want to thank the fire service for their prompt action in saving this precious wildlife haven, and the people of Pershore for their continuing support.

"Our Environment and Community Protection Officers have increased their patrols around the nature reserve to reassure visitors. They ask anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it via 101 as soon as it is safe to do so."

If anyone has any information regarding the fire, please contact West Mercia Police by calling 101. 

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