Salisbury Plain fire: MoD confirms fire was caused by Army training exercise

The fire was caused by a British Army unit who which was conducting pre deployment training Credit: Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed a fire on Salisbury Plain was caused by an Army training exercise.

The blaze broke out on Monday afternoon (11 July) and is still burning near Urchont.

MoD spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Julian, said: "The fire was caused whilst a British Army unit were conducting Pre Deployment Training.

"The fire near Enford is almost extinguished, with damping down continuing. 

"The larger fire near Urchfont is still well alight, but military personnel and firefighters from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are on the scene and have prevented it from spreading further.

"The fires are contained within the Range Danger Area or impact area – the part of the training area which ordnance is fired at, and which is out of bounds to the public.

"The MoD will continue to monitor the situation. Only once the fire has ‘burnt out’ will any consideration be given to permitting training to continue.

"We apologise to the local community affected by the smoke. People are advised to stay indoors and shut all windows. Further information and advice can be found on the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service website."

People in the surrounding areas reported seeing large amounts of smoke even miles away from the site, as the fire service asked residents to keep their doors and windows closed.

Last night, those near to the site posted pictures of the smoke in their neighbourhoods on social media.

It comes as the Met Office is warning that the heat is increasing the risk of wild fires and that if one should start, it could become severe.

People are being urged not to use barbecues or camping stoves and to take extra care when putting out cigarettes.