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40 firefighters tackle heath fire at Winfrith
Updated 5:02pm Monday 14th July 2014 in News
EIGHT fire crews from Dorset tackled a health blaze which was fanned by a strong wind.
Dorset Fire and Rescue Service were called to the fire on heath land close to Winfrith earlier today.
At the height of the incident 40 firefighters were helping to tackle the blaze, which started close to the road and spread up the hill due to strong westerly winds.
The blaze left a large area of scorched and smouldering charred heath in its wake.
At around 9am crews were called to the blaze close to the road on Gatemore Road and initially crews from Swanage, Bere Regis and Wareham were called, before being joined by a further five crews.
Firefighters said there were ‘significant issues’ with the water supply as the area was remote and crews set up a water bowser.
Crews stayed on the scene for several hours, damping down and re-inspected the area throughout the day to make sure there were no hotspots that might cause the fire to restart.
The fire is believed to have started close to the road and spread with the direction of the wind up a hill close by. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
District commander for central Dorset Charlie Pack said: “We had a westerly wind blowing across the heath. The wind pushed the fire up the hill.”
When crews first arrived on scene they found a ‘significant fire’ working its way up the hill.
District Commander Pack said: “At its height we had eight fire engines here. It’s roughly 40 firefighters and the fire was stopped by a flanking attack.
“We pinched it. We prevented it going up the hill and moved it into a natural fire break.”
Crews used main line and hose reel jets to extinguish the fire.
The cause of the fire is unknown and currently under investigation, but district commander Pack said that it was important safety message to reiterate the importance of being cautious in the summer when disposing of barbeques and similar items.
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