The “vast scar” of Wareham Forest fire revealed

In a bid to illustrate the extensive damage that disposable barbecues can cause, Wareham Fire Station has released pictures that reveal the true extent of the scorched earth following the Wareham Forest Fire.

The fire that was accidentally started on Monday 18th May 2020 by a party of people cooking on disposable barbecues and having a campfire, ended up destroying 220 hectares of Wareham Forest.

Scorched heath at Wareham Forest viewed from a drone

Round-the-clock shifts for crews including Swanage Fire Station

Fire crews from across Dorset and Wiltshire, including Swanage Fire Station, eventually brought the blaze under control with round-the-clock shifts, although for weeks later, hot spots have continued to flare up.

Countless animals, reptiles and birds were killed, in what is believed to be one of the most devastating forest and heath fires in Dorset in living memory.

Wareham Fire Station posted the pictures on social media and said:

“A recent drone survey has revealed the vast scar left upon the ancient landscape at Wareham Forest after the recent fire. Please help us to prevent this from happening again. Leave the barbecue at home. Do not light fires. If you see a fire, report it immediately and dial 999.”

Scorched heath at Wareham Forest viewed from a drone

“Please help us by not lighting fires”

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said:

“We continue to ask local residents and visitors to the area to resist any activity that could lead to a fire starting. The main dangers are:

  • Deliberate fire setting
  • Littering of items such as disposable barbecues and cigarettes
  • Campfires and bonfires either being left unattended or getting out of control
  • Sparks from machinery and vehicles
  • Cars being parked on verges and the heat from their catalytic converters igniting the grass

“PLEASE help us by not lighting fires, having barbecues in the open or doing anything that may set alight grass, foliage, heath or woodland.”

Scorched heath at Wareham Forest viewed from a drone

Share this story

Contact us

Do you have anything to add to this story?

We like to keep everything up-to-date, so if you know more, please help us by getting in touch.

Community comments

Top stories

Swanage says farewell to Henry The funeral procession for 25 year old Henry Searle, who valiantly fought brain cancer for far longer than doctors ever expected, will take place through Swanage. 3 weeks ago Man in his 20s rescued by kayakers after Old Harry fall 7 days ago Serious car crash closes road just outside Corfe Castle 2 weeks ago Mayday at Swanage Beach as dogs banned and road closed 1 week ago Studland to get vehicle tow-away zone for summer 2 days ago

Most recent

Great Dorset Beach Clean to go ahead in Swanage Despite being cancelled in 2020 due to Covid, the Great Dorset Beach Clean is back and will take place across 22 local beaches including Swanage and Studland. 13 hours ago New Swanage Town councillor named 1 day ago Studland to get vehicle tow-away zone for summer 2 days ago Two people run over by own car at Lulworth 2 days ago Swanage voters go to the polls 3 days ago