A FOREST fire has destroyed 7,000 square metres of precious heathland and mature trees in Wareham. 

Crews worked through the night tackling the fire after they were called to Decoy Heath within Wareham Forest at 2.52pm on Monday, September 6.

The devastating fire comes 16-months on since flames ripped through around 220 hectares of forest and heathland at Wareham Forest.

To extinguish the fire crews used seven pumping appliances, three water carriers, a unimog from Wareham and nine Land Rovers with pumps.

The fire damage and risk of further fires mean Forestry England are asking people to stay away from this area at this time.

Bournemouth Echo:

Huge forest fire in Wareham

A spokesperson for Forestry England’s Dorset team, said: "The fire has destroyed 7,000 square metres of precious heathland and damaged mature trees in the centre of Wareham Forest, near Decoy Heath in Dorset. Forestry England’s local team are currently on site dampening down hot spots of fire."

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the outdoors, however, the current dry conditions have increased the risk of fires in the forest and wider countryside, so we are reminding everyone to take extra care when visiting forests.

"It’s important that people do not have open camp fires or barbeques and extinguish cigarettes properly.”

Fire crews, 11 in total,  from across Dorset and Hampshire were called to attend the scene including crews from Wareham, Poole, Hamworthy, Swanage, Wimborne, Maiden Newton, Christchurch, Bere Regis, Blandford and Ringwood.  

Bournemouth Echo:

Huge forest fire in Wareham

They worked through the night rotating crews, the stop call came in at 11.13pm. 

There was still one crew on the scene monitoring for any hot spots that may reignite, as of 7.45am on Tuesday, September 7.

No rescues were required and there were no casualties.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have now issued an amber warning due to the high risk of heath fires for the next two days. 

An amber alert means that, should a wildfire be experienced, it could spread quickly and easily due to the dry conditions.

Group manager Darren Langdown said: “While the warmer weather is welcome after such a gloomy August, it does mean the ground and foliage are dry, and this can result in a greater risk of fires spreading if something happens to cause ignition.

"We would urge anyone going out and about in our beautiful countryside this week to take extra care and follow our advice to #BringAPicnicNotABarbecue, and to avoid having campfires on heathland or in woodlands.”