Winnie-the-Pooh's real-life Hundred Acre Wood catches fire

The cause of the blaze in England's Ashdown Forest is under investigation but does not appear to be a deliberate act.
PA via AP, Disney/Everett Collection

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By Alyssa Newcomb

Firefighters put out a forest fire Monday morning in Ashdown Forest, a wooded area in southeast England that was the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh's fictional home, Hundred Acre Wood.

The fire started in Ashdown Forest, in East Sussex, on Sunday night. Firefighters worked overnight to put out the blaze, which burned 37 acres of the picturesque English countryside.

"We received numerous calls at 9:30 last night from members of the public and the police regarding a fire in the Ashdown Forest. The fire took hold quickly and was significant," Andrew Gausden, an incident commander with the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said in an update Monday morning.

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The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Gausden said it doesn't appear to be intentional. Although it had recently rained in the area, dry undergrowth may have helped the fire spread more quickly, he added.

The Sussex Police Department and Ashdown Forest Rangers are helping with the investigation.

Ewan McGregor starred in the 2018 film "Christopher Robin."Disney/Everett Collection

"Winnie-the-Pooh" author A.A. Milne lived in Cotchford Farm, Hartfield, not far from Ashdown Forest. He drew inspiration from the adventures that his son, Christopher Robin, had playing with his toys in the countryside around their home.

In the book, Ashdown Forest became the Hundred Acre Wood, the home to Pooh and his friends Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and others, who went on adventures with the fictional Christopher Robin.

The area is a popular tourist destination for Winnie-the-Pooh fans and people looking for a walk through the pristine English countryside, located about an hour and a half by car from London.

Although Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh" came out in 1926, the character's popularity shows no signs of waning. In 2016, a Pooh-shaped cloud — likely Photoshopped appeared over a children's charity event in Dorset, England, and he was featured in a new book, in which he meets Queen Elizabeth II and Prince George. Just last summer, Ewan McGregor starred in "Christopher Robin," a live-action film about the beloved bear and the grown-up titular character.