Winnie-the-Pooh's real-life forest catches fire

April 30, 2019, 12:11 p.m.

The woods that were the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh's fictional home recently were engulfed in a large, fast-moving fire. The blaze at Ashdown Forest in East Sussex in the U.K. broke out on the evening of April 28 and spread quickly, affecting as many as 50 acres. More than a half-dozen crews battled to get the fire under control.

"It's unusual to have a fire of this size at night. This seems to have caught hold before people noticed the fire," Andrew Gausden, from the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, told the BBC. "The undergrowth was very dry in the forest, despite the recent rain, and the fire caught quite quickly."

Hannah Scott-Youldon of the fire and rescue service posted the above photo on Twitter, saying: "Crews working hard in arduous conditions. Crews from @EastSussexFRS @WestSussexFire and @sussex_police including the drone and superbly supported by @Sussex_Fire_999"

Scott-Youldon tells MNN, "The crews and command team did a very good job in preventing further spread and keeping everyone safe."

Investigators don't know the cause of the fire yet, but don't believe it was set deliberately, according to the fire and rescue service.

Ashdown Forest aka Hundred Acre Wood Author A.A. Milne frequently visited nearby Ashdown Forest and used it as the inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood. (Photo: Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB/Shutterstock)

Author A.A. Milne lived in the area near Hatfield and drew on Ashdown Forest as the inspiration for his fictional Hundred Acre Wood, where Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and friends live. The 6,500-acre forest is located about 30 miles south of London.

The U.K. government has designated the forest a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area for birds, as well as a Special Area of Conservation for its heathland habitats.