Dorset

Wareham Forest: Strong winds reignite five-day-old blaze

Wareham Forest Fire Image copyright Dorset & Wiltshire Fire Service
Image caption Crews have been dealing with "multiple hotspots and flare ups", the fire service said

More than 150 firefighters are back on the scene of a large forest fire in Dorset that has been declared a major incident.

Strong winds caused "flare-ups" at Wareham Forest, where the blaze started on Monday, the fire service said.

A helicopter was brought in to "water bomb" the area as smoke drifted as far as Bournemouth, Ferndown and Wimborne.

Investigators believe a disposable barbecue or camp fire could have been the cause of the initial blaze.

Image copyright Sturminster Newton Fire Station
Image caption Firefighters are continuing to dampen down hotspots at Wareham Forest

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said crews had "been trying to keep on top of the hotspots and flare-ups all day" after winds "picked up".

About 470 acres (190 hectares) of land have so far been damaged in the fire.

People have been urged to stay away from the area.

Image copyright Dorset & Wiltshire Fire Service
Image caption The fire service said 11 disposable BBQs were found in the area
Image copyright Sophie Lake
Image caption The fire has damaged 470 acres (190 hectares) of Wareham Forest

An amber alert for wildfire also remains in place for the weekend, meaning if another wildfire was to happen it could spread quickly and easily due to the dry and windy conditions.

One third of the 3,700-acre forest is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is home to rare birds, plants and invertebrates.

On Wednesday, Forestry England estimated it could take the forest "decades" to recover.

Image copyright Dorset & Wiltshire Fire Service
Image caption One third of the 3,700-acre forest is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

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