Experts say it could be two years before wildlife returns to marshland which was devastated by a fire at the weekend.
The Neston Reedbed reserve at Parkgate, Wirral, which is home to an array of significant wildlife in the area, was destroyed by a 10-acre blaze which took place at 18:23 on Saturday evening.
Fire crews from Powey Lane, Ellesmere Port and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene.
Working alongside the police and air support, the fire crews put fire breaks in place to protect nearby properties.
Station manager for Cheshire Fire, Carl Nevitt said: “We were at the scene for some 15 hours, leaving just before 10am on Sunday morning after monitoring the area overnight.”
Concern has been raised by the RSPB about the significant detrimental impact the fire has had on nesting birds.
The charity has reported that the 10 acres which have been burnt included both the Reedbed and Saltmarsh vegetation.
Following the assessment of damage, the RSPB said: “While we remain hopeful that the root systems have survived, and that the reeds will grow back in the coming years, there is no chance of wildlife successfully nesting in those areas in the coming months.”
“It will be a year or two until at the earliest before this area can once again support breeding birds including Bearded Tits, Cetti’s Wobblers and Marsh Harriers.”
They have also told of how the public can do their bit to support the re-emergence of wildlife.
A spokesman said: “Please stick to paths and keep dogs on short leads and under close control.”
Police appeal for information
Three teenagers were arrested on Monday on suspicion of arson. They have been released on conditional bail as an investigation into the fire continues.
There is currently an appeal for information that could help with the police investigation. Contact Cheshire Constabulary on 101, quoting IML 1226437 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Featured image and video by @MisterDrone on Twitter