'Large area of heathland' in Dorset left with 'substantial damage' following fire

An investigation has been launched into what caused a fire that destroyed a large area of heathland in Dorset.

Around 90 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze at Boveridge Heath in Verwood on Monday (3 May).

It was the second heath fire in the East Dorset area that afternoon, following an earlier incident in St Leonards and St Ives.

Dorset Police and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue are now asking for witnesses to come forward, and the cause of the fire remains unexplained.

The blaze at Verwood, which covered an area of 12.7 hectares, was reported at around 3pm on Monday.

Inspector Simon Perry, of North and East Dorset Police, said the fire caused "substantial damage to a large area of heathland."“The cause of the fire remains unexplained," he said.

"To assist our enquiries I would urge anyone who was in the area at the time and has any information as to how the fire started to please contact us.

"I would also like to hear from anyone who was driving in the area on the afternoon of Monday 3 May 2021 and may have captured anything of relevance on dashcam."Local officers will continue to carry out patrols in the area, the force said.

  • How do I avoid starting a wildfire?

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has the following tips:• Avoid campfires and using barbecues in the countryside. If you must have a fire, make sure that you’re in a designated safe area.• Put out cigarettes and other smoking materials properly before you leave your vehicle.• Do not throw cigarette ends out of your vehicle. They could start a fire and destroy surrounding countryside.• If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately on 999. Do not tackle a fire yourself, unless it can be put out with a bucket of water. Please call the fire service and leave the area as soon as possible.• Ensure that you know your location or a landmark so you can direct the fire service.