Dorset fire crews warning to 'be careful' after multiple weekend wildfire calls outs

Credit: Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

Fire crews in Dorset are urging people to "be careful" after another warm and dry weekend saw heath fires break out.

It follows an 'amber alert' for grassland fires issued by Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service last week - meaning a fire "could spread quickly and easily due to the dry and windy conditions".

The fire service said it "cannot stress enough the importance of being fire aware" during this sort of weather.

Firefighters from Wareham were deployed to tackle a blaze covering a large area of forest and grassland near the village of St Leonards.

The call first came in just around 3:30 on Sunday (25 April) morning, with the stations 'Unimog' off road firefighting vehicle deployed.

Crews remained at the scene throughout the day, dampening down - the cause of this fire is unknown.

How to be 'Fire aware' - Tips from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service:

  • Don’t have barbecues or campfires on the heath or in open spaces; the risk of a fire starting is too great in the current conditions.

  • Extinguish cigarettes properly, don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows – take your litter home.

  • If you see a fire in the countryside, call 999 and report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Please provide as much detail as possible about location and access, but also make sure you are in a safe place.

Later on Sunday crews from Poole were sent to a fire on open ground in the Bearwood area.

At its height teams from Wimborne, Christchurch, Poole and Ferndown were all at the scene tackling the blaze, which covered approximately one hectare.

Last year's Wareham forest fire burned for almost two weeks.

Following the issuing of the amber alert on Thursday (22 April), the fire service it was "asking for the public’s help by not having campfires or using disposable barbecues in our forests and heathlands."

Group Manager Jason Moncrieff said: "Whilst we understand that the lifting of some lockdown restrictions, combined with the dry weather, will mean people will want to go out and about, we cannot stress enough the importance of being fire aware."

Last year 220 hectares of land at Wareham forest was destroyed by fire.

The blaze was declared a 'major incident' and caused disruption across the area, draining fire resources, closing roads and even forcing some to be evacuated from their homes.