A MAJOR fire has ravaged a Hampshire common for the second time in just four days.

Fire crews were called out to Netley Common yesterday morning as 30 sq m of grassland was destroyed by the blaze.

The cause is still being investigated, but the area was the subject of a suspected arson attack on Sunday which destroyed several hundred metres of heathland.

As previously reported, crews have dealt with more than 40 grassland blazes across the county since Saturday, with some thought to be the result of arson attacks.

On Tuesday, 37 acres of wheat and rye fields were turned into scorched wasteland after a blaze at Monks Shorn farmhouse in East Boldre in the New Forest. Other fires have taken place at Peartree Common in Southampton and near Fareham, Gosport and Winchester.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a warning to the public to take extra care when visiting open grassland and woods.

Station manager Glenn Bowyer, of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “In the current hot, dry conditions we are asking the public to be extra vigilant and follow a few simple steps to prevent fires, such as extinguishing cigarettes properly and not throwing them on the ground or out of car windows.

“Dealing with these small fires places a huge demand on our services, which can in turn challenge our ability to provide an effective response to more serious incidents.”