Police investigation as Swanage Fire crew damp down heath fire

For a second day, fire crews were at Boveridge Heath near Verwood in Dorset following a blaze that destroyed more than 12 hectares of forest, as Dorset Police launched an appeal for information.

The cause of the fire is not yet known and Dorset Police have launched a joint investigation with the fire service. The blaze started just before 3 pm on Monday 3rd May 2021.

On that Bank Holiday Monday, Swanage Fire crew was deployed to tackle an earlier heath fire at St Leonards and St Ives near Ferndown but on Tuesday 4th May 2021 Swanage Fire Station was called to assist with a second day at Boveridge Heath.

Verwood Heath fire
Swanage Fire Station
Verwood heath fire
Wareham Fire Station

The Wareham Fire Station Unimog

Deal with hotspots

A spokesperson from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said:

“We have sent additional resources back to Boveridge Heath, to deal with hotspots and to prevent further fire spread.

“Crews from Poole, Swanage, Ferndown and Springbourne are being supported by a water carrier from Ringwood and the Unimog from Wareham.”

Verwood heath fire
Wareham Fire Station
Verwood Heath fire
Swanage Fire Station

“Damping down after the large fire”

Swanage Fire Station added:

“Our off road appliance has just returned to station after spending most of the day at Verwood Forest damping down after the large fire there, yesterday.”

On Monday 3rd May 2021, more than 140 firefighters from stations across Dorset and Hampshire were involved in the two heath fires – around 90 at Boveridge Heath and around 50 at St Leonards.

Verwood Heath fire
Swanage Fire Station
Verwood Heath fire
Swanage Fire Station

“Substantial damage to a large area of heathland”

Inspector Simon Perry, of North and East Dorset police, said:

“We are continuing to liaise with the fire service to establish the full circumstances and the cause of this fire, which has caused substantial damage to a large area of heathland.

“At this time the cause of the fire remains unexplained and to assist our enquiries I would urge anyone who was in the area at the time and has any information as to how the fire started to please contact us.

“I would also like to hear from anyone who was driving in the area on the afternoon of Monday 3rd May 2021 and may have captured anything of relevance on dashcam.

“Finally, I would like to thank the fire service and all those involved in tackling the fire for their swift response, which prevented the damage from being even worse.”

Verwood Heath fire
Swanage Fire Station
Verwood Heath fire
Swanage Fire Station

Appeal for information

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55210069298.

Alternatively, to stay 100 per cent anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or call freephone 0800 555 111.

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