Dorset

Wareham Forest: Crews 'make good progress' tackling blaze

Controlled burn Image copyright DWFRS
Image caption Crews manage a "controlled burn" in an attempt to stop the blaze from spreading

Firefighters are "making progress" as they continue to tackle a devastating forest fire a week after it began.

The blaze at Wareham Forest started on 18 May but flared up in high winds over subsequent days.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) said it hoped to scale back resources soon.

"Controlled burns" are limiting the spread of the fire which has now damaged about 550 acres (220 hectares).

The blaze may initially have been started by a disposable barbecue or camp fire, investigators believe.

DWFRS said it had been called to a number of other small fires involving disposable barbecues and unattended bonfires over the weekend.

"Please do not have any barbecues, campfires or bonfires. Our resources are already stretched, please help us by not doing anything that could lead to another fire elsewhere," it said.

Image copyright DWFRS
Image caption Crews have been continuing to extinguish hotspots throughout the fire site

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.

About 100 firefighters have been tackling the blaze, including crews from Devon and Somerset, Hampshire, Berkshire, and south Wales.

DWFRS said: "We have continued to dampen down hot spots and continue to make good progress".

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

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