A LARGE area of Guisborough Forest was hit by a devastating fire which burned for several hours on Saturday (April 13) afternoon.

Initial reports said the east end of the woods was the most badly affected.

However, Cleveland Fire and Rescue Service have confirmed the fire took place near Charltons Village, Guisborough.

On Facebook, Richard Johnston said: I'm very sorry to say that most of the Far East end of the woods were completely destroyed today.

"This included Guisborough's largest new pine forest plantation consisting of Sitka Spruce and various other young varieties of pine.

"Easily the most disastrous fire to occur in the woods in my lifetime and the scale of it has to be seen to be believed.

The Northern Echo:

Picture: Richard Johnston

"Can't begin to imagine how many animals and plants have been incinerated."

A large amount of woodland had been destroyed according to the fire service, whilst six fire brigades and two-off road vehicles were dispatched.

A spokeswoman for the Cleveland Fire and Rescue Service said: "At around 2.29pm the service was called to reports of a large fire in the Guisborough forestry near Charltons Village.

"Six appliances atttended the incident with two off road vehicles.

"There was a large amount of heat - Cleveland Fire Brigade worked for several hours to contain this fire and the stop message was timed at 9.36pm.

"There was a large amount of woodland and heathland destroyed."

At around 2pm a fire safety officer told The Northern Echo that the fire service was "monitoring woodland" in case parts of smouldered ground, including ground underneath the site, reignited.