Studland fire: Firefighters at scene of blaze for third day after Dorset beach evacuated

Video from Rob Johnson.

Firefighters are at the scene of a blaze in Studland for a third day after a large fire broke out.

Holidaymakers are being told to avoid the area around the popular Dorset beach "for their own safety".

Approximately 90 firefighters were called to the heathland on Friday (12 August) and local ferry services were suspended.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue urged the public to avoid the Ferry Road area and "stay off the heath".

Group manager Brad Stevens said on Friday: “The fire affects an area of around 200m x 200m, and is generating a lot of smoke. Anyone in the local area who is concerned should keep doors and windows closed.

"Our crews are fighting the fire on all sides, using multiple jets and beaters, and National Trust staff are using machinery to create a fire break."

On Saturday morning, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service confirmed the incident was being scaled down.

The service tweeted: "The incident has been scaled back to four off road appliances, four Landrovers and the Unimog.  We are also now using the High Volume Pump (HVP) to supply water to the incident ground. 

"The Sandbanks Ferry will be re-opening shortly for business as usual and Ferry Road will also be re-opened.

Video from Crispian Covell.

"Due to our HVP being used, there will be no parking on Ferry Road, only parking in the car parks will be available.

"For the safety of our firefighters and partners assisting at this incident, please drive with caution in the area and we would remind the public for their own safety not to enter the heathland."

However, Dorset Police was called to reports that more than 300 cars have ignored the council’s no parking signs in Ferry Road.Emergency services say the restrictions are in place because the water hose is running along the road to allow firefighters to deal with the heath fire.

The station tweeted a picture of two vehicles on the the Sandbanks Ferry, which has been shuttling fire teams to the area and bringing stranded tourists back.

One eyewitness told ITV Meridian the smoke appeared at around 1pm on Friday.

Wayne Dyson, who was on nearby South Beach at the time, turned around to see 'black smoke' further down the boardwalk.

“I was on South Beach, we looked around at around 1pm, and we saw a plume of black smoke," he said.

“My first thought was I hoped everybody was okay. I was concerned about the flames and smoke - it just got bigger and bigger. I could see it by Ferry road in the distance.

"We checked the news to see what was happening and then realised that the heath was on fire. The grass is tinder dry here so I understand how it spread so quickly."

The blaze led to the suspension of the Sandbanks Ferry, which was unable to run services to the Studland peninsula.

The company said: "Ferry Road is closed due to a large fire in Studland. Emergency services are only letting people off the Studland Peninsula - the road is completely closed on the Studland side."

The Sandbanks Ferry has now been suspended. Credit: Cat Reid

Local bus services were also disrupted due to the blaze.

MoreBus said: "We will be running a shuttle bus once an hour between Studland Village and Swanage.

"ALL passengers should take the shuttle to Swanage for onward travel to Poole and Bournemouth. Please allow extra time for your journey."

Police have closed nearby roads. Credit: Purbeck Police

Motorists in the area were told access to Studland was restricted.

Purbeck Police issued a statement on Facebook which said: "Ferry road, Studland closed due to large fire near the ferry terminal.

"Access to Studland is restricted with road closures at Ulwell road, B3351 J/W Swanage road and also closed at Knoll beach."

A spokesperson from the National Trust said volunteers managed to save some stranded reptiles within the burn area.

They said: "The fire is now contained but the fire service remains onsite. After initial assessment the total area damaged is 4.8 hectares of protected Within the Purbeck Heaths Super National Nature Reserve.  Car parks and facilities are now operating as normal again, although visitors are asked to respect any temporary restrictions put in place by DWFRS.

"National Trust staff and volunteers have surveyed the site and have been able to rescue some stranded reptiles within the burn area. We will continue to work closely with DWFRS.

"We would like to thank Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service for their prompt action and hard work."