More than 150 fire fighters, including the crew from Swanage, have been called to tackle the devastating fire at Wareham Forest that has now been declared a major incident.
LATEST UPDATE: 10 am Tuesday 19th May 2020 from Purbeck Police:
“The fire is still burning within the ground, albeit flames are not currently visible. But this could change and fire fighters will likely be at this location throughout the day doing their utmost to protect local residents, wildlife and the area.”
Wareham Fire Station crew were the first to be called out yesterday, Monday 18th May 2020 at 12.20 pm to investigate smoke seen coming from Wareham Forest.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue posted this video on their Facebook page.
Quickly it was realised that it was a serious heath fire spreading fast through the dry scrub between the A35 and Sugar Hill. Fire crews from across the county were called to help tackle the fire and try to prevent the further destruction of wildlife.
Swanage Fire Station posted on social media:
“All appliances stayed for several hours which involved some very hard work and a few hairy moments!”
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said:
“Approximately 100 hectares of heath and woodland affected and flames are being fanned by strong winds. The smoke is drifting towards the Wimborne, Poole and Hamworthy areas. If you are concerned about the smoke, please stay indoors and keep windows closed.”
Fire crews have continued to battle with the fire overnight and the smell of smoke is lingering in the air across a wide area. The fire is now estimated to have affected 183 hectares of forest and heath land, causing harm to much of the wildlife.
The A35 is still closed between Bere Regis and Morden Park Corner. A road closure is also in place along the Bere Road to Sugar Hill. Traffic delays are expected to continue into today, as the fire is likely to take several days to be properly damped down, so police are requesting that motorists avoid the area.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said the situation has been made more complicated by a major power line that runs through the area. The fire has affected the pylons and their supply of electricity to the local area.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.