FIREFIGHTERS have finally stopped the wildfire inferno on the Malvern Hills, although they are still tackling small pockets of fire.

The blaze engulfed a five-acre area of shrubbery and grass near West of England Quarry, Malvern, after it broke out yesterday afternoon.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service station commander Thom Morgan said the fire was caused by a disposable barbecue.

Andy Jones, a fire crew commander at the scene, said: “We came in this morning at 7am to take over from the crews that were here last night and this morning.

“Our job is to get as many hotspots as we can with backpack extinguishers. It’s arduous work going up and down the hill carrying the backpacks.

“The fire is out, there are a few smouldering spots on the left-hand side."

Mr Jones, who commands a retained crew from Fownhope, Herefordshire, said around four to five acres of grass and shrubbery were burnt in the blaze.

He urged people to think twice before taking disposable items onto the hills, such as barbeques, cigarettes and bottles.

Mr Jones added: “With the grass being as dry as it is it will be a massive risk.”

Fire crews were still dampening down patches on the hill this afternoon.

Resident Judith Mott, aged 57, of West Malvern Road, first became aware of the blaze when she heard sirens near her home.

She said: “We heard the sirens and our daughter came home and said she saw what she thought was a bonfire.

"That was at about 4pm. We saw the smoke. It happened just above West of England Quarry.

“We have been here for five years and this is the first time there’s been a fire on this side of the hill.

“We used to live on the other side in the past and there used to be more. It’s quite rare now.”

Some 95 fire service personnel responded to the fire and some crews stayed at the scene overnight yesterday to monitor to situation.

Blazes also broke out at the old Tolladine Golf Course, in Worcester, and Blackminster, Evesham, today.