The cost of failing to put out barbecues properly can be “extremely high” warn the fire service following a large three-day blaze that tore through woodland and and heath near Kingswear.

The fire was caused by a disposable barbecue on Saturday afternoon and fought by hundreds of fire-fighters on a rota system that was still in place on Monday night.

A helicopter was also called in to drop water bombs on the flames in a bid to stop the fire from spreading further along the cliffs.

Totnes fire crews were among those that attended on Sunday, along with crews from Dartmouth, Brixham, Paignton, Newton Abbot, Kingsteignton; a water bowser from Exeter, and incident support units from Bovey Tracey and Buckfastleigh.

A Totnes spokesman said: “Due to the winds and the coastal area of the fire access was very difficult and fire spread was hard to control.

“Crews worked extremely hard under a very hot sun to put the fire out.

“There was a helicopter to aid in reaching the seats of fire that were too difficult for firefighters to reach safely.

“Please remember, if you do have a barbecue then please dispose of it properly. The cost of one not put out or cooled properly can be extremely high.”

Modbury fire fighters also attended the scene yesterday and a spokesman said: “We were called out on Monday at 2.18pm to relieve crews working in the Kingswear area on the coast, along the cliff edge.

“Crews have been rotating for two days now, working on a fire that started from a barbecue.

“The site was sectorised into two main areas allowing crews to work simultaneously on both areas at once.

“The terrain was arduous and the weather conditions also had a major impact.

“We worked at cooling hot spots and damping down the deep seated fire to help extinguish and prevent any further spread.”

Police have closed the section of the footpath from Forward Point to Warren Beach while firefighters make attempts to damp down the area.

The fire spread to trees in Warren Woods, a section of the coast path dedicated in 1984 to the memory of Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones VC OBE who was killed at Goose Green in 1982 during the Falklands War.