THE forest made famous by Winnie the Pooh was today destroyed by wildfires as Britain basked in 21C sunshine.
Firefighters rushed to Ashdown Forest in East Sussex following reports of a huge blaze breaking out in the well-known woodland.
Crews said 35 hectares had been affected after two separate blazes ripped through the forest best known as the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s children’s classic.
Experts said the ground is drier because of the unusual warm weather which could result in a number of outdoor fires this week.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said that finally had it under control after battling the blaze for more than seven hours.
But a spokesman confirmed they will return to the scene tomorrow to carry out re-inspections.
They would not confirm what started the fires but the spokesman added it has been deemed “accidental”.
The service said: “The first fire began at 12.31pm at Nutley and the “stop” message received at 19.42, marking the end of the firefighting operation with crews leaving the area shortly afterwards.
“The fire has been deemed accidental.
“The second began at Hartfield at 13.37 on 26 Feb 2019 and the ‘stop’ message was received at 19.02. The scene has been left with the Forest Rangers.
“The cause of this fire has not been confirmed at this time.
“Members of the public are being asked to be extra careful while enjoying the outdoors.”
It comes as another fire broke out on the side of a mountain in Betws Yn Rhos in North Wales.
On Tuesday, the UK was officially warmer than California’s Malibu today as temperatures reached 21.2C at Kew Gardens in West London.
Yesterday, the thermometer reached 20.6C at Trawsgoed in Ceredigion, West Wales, the highest recorded in February and beating the previous record of 19.7C in Greenwich in 1998.
Parts of Britain on Tuesday were hotter than a series of popular holiday destinations, beating Malibu, Athens and Barcelona.