MORE than 40 firefighters battled a heath fire at a nature reserve near Wareham.

Crews from seven fire stations were called to Creech Heath at Stoborough just before 1pm on Wednesday.

Furzebrook Road was closed from the roundabout on the A351 to the East Creech Farm Campsite.

Swanage Railway also suspended its services as a result of the blaze.

A spokesperson for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said approximately five hectares of land were alight.

"Approximately 45 firefighters are there. The crews will be on scene for some time," they said.

"We are advising people to proceed with caution in the area due to a number of appliances still being in the area.

"Beaters and hose reel jets are being used to damp down the area, and a fire break is in use to stop the fire spreading," they added.

The 80 hectare nature reserve is home to a number of reptile species and several protected bird species.