Dozens of soldiers pulled from training exercise to battle huge wildfires on Salisbury Plain

Dozens of soldiers have been pulled from a training exercise to help battle numerous major wildfires on Salisbury Plain.

The blaze broke out at around midday yesterday (Monday, 11 July) – but it can’t be tackled by firefighters due to its location, which poses an explosion risk.

Instead, dozens of soldiers are tackling the fires, after their training exercise was halted due to the ongoing incident.

A smoke plume caused by the flames has spread across the county overnight, and can be seen and smelt in the Swindon area.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has advised people to close their windows and doors to avoid breathing the toxic fumes in.

In a statement earlier today, DWFRS said: “Yesterday (11 July), during the day, the Service was advised by the military that there was a fire on Salisbury Plain, but we were not required to attend as it was within the impact area, and it is not safe for firefighters to go there due to the risk of unexploded ordnance.

“Last night, we did have four fire engines and two water carriers at a fire on the Plain near Enford, outside of the impact area.

“As at 9am this morning (12 July), we have no resources in attendance as the incident is being managed by our colleagues in the military, but we are liaising closely with them and will continue to offer support.

“If they request it, we may return to the scene if we can safely assist.

“We are aware the smoke plume is travelling some distance, towards Swindon, and would encourage residents to keep windows and doors closed to avoid breathing this in.”

The fire is expected to rage on for several days.

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