WILDFIRES that have destroyed a huge section Wareham Forest have finally been extinguished.

Poole Police announced this afternoon that the heath fire at Sugar Hill, Wareham has finally been extinguished.

The fire began in the forest on May 18 and crews have been on the scene for 13 days in succession.

Bournemouth Echo:

Hundreds of firefighters have worked tirelessly to extinguish the blaze, which has caused serious damage to around 200 hectares of heath and woodland.

Today, Poole Police announced that the fires have finally been extinguished and Bere Road had reopened.

A spokesperson said: "We are delighted to be able to confirm that the heath fire at Sugar Hill, Wareham has finally been extinguished by the sterling efforts of [Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service] and supporting teams from across southern England, and the road is now open.

Bournemouth Echo:

"It has been a huge task for them, and we are hugely grateful for their expertise, tireless dedication and commitment in minimising the effects this huge blaze has had on us all.

"Many thanks as well to the Swanage and Winton branches of the Salvation Army, headed up by Major Jonathan Greetham, who with the support of the Corfe Castle Village bakery, have kept all those in attendance fed and refreshed so well."

Bournemouth Echo:

However, residents are being warned that the area is still "high risk" and are being ask to avoid using any naked flames in the area as well as remain "vigilant" and report any signs of heath fires to 999.

As previously reported, Forestry England, which manages Wareham Forest, says it could take decades for the area's habitat to recover.