Swanage Fire Station was called out to three separate fires all on the same day, next to the Swanage Railway track.
The fires that broke out on the afternoon of Thursday 31st August 2022 were along the railway line in Harmans Cross and Knitson near Swanage.
“Crews worked hard to stop the fires spreading”
Swanage Fire Station reported:
“This afternoon all appliances were mobilised to three separate trackside fires in Harmans Cross and Knitson.
“Crews worked hard to stop the fires spreading to the nearby fields.”
Steam locomotive service was suspended for 10 days earlier in August
Swanage Railway suspended its steam locomotive service on Sunday 7th August 2022 following a large fire that started beside the railtrack near Corfe Castle during a period of hot weather.
It’s common for sparks from the coal-fired steam engines to set light to the embankment but usually the flames are contained and quickly extinguished.
During that time, the railway ran a diesel service instead. A steam service recommenced 10 days later on Wednesday 17th August 2022 following a risk assessment and the introduction of additional measures.
Driest conditions in nearly 90 years
While Purbeck has had some heavy rain showers towards the end of August, the ground has remained dry.
On Tuesday 30th August 2022, the Environment Agency declared that Dorset, along with the whole of the South West of England was now experiencing a drought following some of the driest conditions in nearly 90 years.
However spells of rain across Purbeck are forecast from Friday 2nd September 2022 for much of the following week.