THE large heath fire that ripped through the Studland heathlands was caused by an accidental spread from a bonfire, fire services have confirmed.

Dozens of firefighters rushed to Studland on Tuesday evening to tackle the huge blaze at Godlingston Heath which had been spotted by eyewitnesses across Bournemouth and Poole.

Crews from Swanage, Westbourne, Poole, Christchurch, Hamworthy and Wimborne along with other services were sent to the scene of the fire which spread through the heath for more than two hours.

Despite being extinguished on Tuesday evening, crews returned to the scene on Wednesday and Thursday morning to deal with any remaining hotspots.

It has since been found that the fire was caused accidentally after a bonfire spread.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire Service could not provide any further details but said: “The Service works closely with landowners and the Urban Heaths Partnership to prevent the likelihood of these events happening in the future.”