ANXIOUS residents fear lives could be put at risk after firebugs sparked a series of blazes in fields just yards from their homes.

Flames could be seen leaping 20ft into the air during the latest fire behind houses in Stanley Road, which backs on to Clacton Airfield.

Pensioner Josie Anton, 72, said: “It was really bad. The other fires have been during the day time but this was about 10pm.

“There is a walkway between us and the fields which is all overgrown and the fire ran along the end of the field.

“It was just feet away from the garden fences which have just been put up. It was too close for comfort and it was quite windy.

“We were all out in our gardens watching it when we heard the fire engines.

“The fire was about ten houses wide. It was crackling away and there was thick black smoke.

“Luckily the man next door has a hose pipe and he went out the back to try to stop it spreading.

“This is the fifth in a few weeks and we are getting worried.”

Residents fear flames could spread to the houses if there is another blaze.

Mrs Anton said: “The flames were about 20ft high and it is so dry out there that everything was just on fire.

"Plants, bushes and trees were just burning. The firemen were here quite a while because they had to get through people’s gardens to get their hoses through.

“If the fences catch alight then our gardens will go and then God knows what would happen.

“We are all pensioners along there.

“If there are sparks from the fire like there were the other night they could end up on the roof and then you’ve got a house fire.

“I couldn’t sleep afterwards. I thought it would only take one bit left there for it to go up again.”

She added: “It was awful. I was shaking out there, wondering what if the firemen couldn’t put it out quickly enough.

“It’s obvious someone is doing it but we don’t know why.”

Firefighters from Dovercourt were called to the fire at 9.55pm last Wednesday.

The blaze was out by 10.20pm and is being treated as arson.