Cause of Studland fire confirmed amid concern blaze near Dorset beach could reignite

Watch: ITV News Meridian's Mike Pearse reports on the devastation left behind

Remains of a barbecue have been found to be the cause of a blaze which destroyed heathland in Studland, firefighters have confirmed.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service told ITV News Meridian that a barbecue and campfire were found as firefighters brought the blaze under control.

The public is now being asked not to have campfires, bonfires or use barbecues in the countryside.

Group Manager Bradley Stevens said: "This is National Trust land and they have got 'no open fires' signs all over the place.

"With the best will in the world the fire service, police, coastguard and the National Trust are out trying to educate people. We have had many interviews like this trying to promote safe use of barbecues. In weather conditions like this safe use of barbecues is a no no."

Meanwhile Dorset Police said that an unexploded device, suspected to be a WW2 ordnance, had been located on Saturday morning by firefighters tackling the blaze.

Bomb disposal teams were on scene to deal with the device. Residents and members of the public may hear a 'loud bang' while this is being done.

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

The Sandbanks Ferry is re-opening for 'business as usual', after it was only operating a one-way service out of Studland while firefighters worked to bring the fire under control.

Ferry Road will also be re-opened, but crews are warning that there will be no parking along Ferry Road, only parking in the car parks will be available.

Firefighters are urging the public to drive with caution in the area and, for their own safety, not to enter the heathland.

One witness, Rachael Mills was out on a day trip with her family when she saw smoke 'billowing up' a few hundred metres away.

She said: "I commented to another customer next to me who said the cafe owner had just rang 999.

"As we walked along the beach back to our things we could see it was a big incident and decided to pack up and go.

"There were thousands on the beaches - I'd never seen it so busy there and we are regular visitors there -  so I knew it was going to be tricky leaving area if we stayed.

"I could see the road to the ferry was already closed so we headed home to Bournemouth via Corfe Castle.

"We pulled in at the viewpoint near the golf club which looks down over Studland area and could see thick smoke was all across the area and we were worrying lots of people walking the heathland paths which criss-cross the area.

"We could see the extent of flames and knowing how quickly it can spread was worried just how many people were in the area."

The incident has now been scaled back to four off-road appliances, four Landrovers and the Unimog.

Firefighters are expected to be in the Studland area for a number of days to dampen down any hotspots, amid concerns the blaze could reignite in the hot weather.