THE huge fire that blazed for three days at a landfill site near Wareham was likely to have started due to a discarded barbecue or used coals, investigators say.

Nearly every fire engine from Dorset Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) attended the Trigon landfill site at some point during the drama, after it ignited at the end of August.

Firefighters from neighbouring counties were even drafted in to help DFRS tackle the inferno at the Viridor-operated Bere Road site.

Following investigations, Viridor external affairs director Dan Cooke said: “We are currently not able to categorically confirm the cause of the fire.

“Whilst vandalism cannot be ruled out, experience suggests that the likely cause could be flammable or combustible waste being put into a general waste bin, or, on the back of a bank holiday weekend, a disposable barbecue or used coals that were not completely cold before being disposed of.”

Viridor say the site is likely to reopen on Wednesday.

During the fire roughly 10,000 tonnes of waste material was burned and people as far away as the Isle of Wight and Southsea reported smelling smoke.

Public health officials also warned people to avoid areas affected by the thick black smoke. However, no one was injured in the fire, which burned for three days from August 31.

Mr Cooke said: “We would urge waste producers and members of the public to be diligent about ensuring that flammable and combustible waste such as fireworks, flares and batteries are appropriately disposed of and that any barbecue material or similar is rendered safe and fully extinguished before disposal.”