Studland fire: Fire crews tackle huge blaze on Dorset heathland

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·2-min read

People have been evacuated from a holiday spot as a fire broke out on heathland amid a UK heatwave.

Fire services were called to Studland Heath in Dorset on Friday afternoon after a "fast moving" blaze took hold on heathland.

Yesterday a red alert for wildfires was issued across Dorset due to the dry weather and heatwave conditions.

A statement from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Studland is a fast moving incident, but we were called to Studland Heath at 1.12pm for a large fire involving undergrowth and gorse. We have crews from Springbourne, Poole, Westbourne and Swanage in attendance, with other resources on the way.

"We are asking people to leave the heath for their own safety, and to avoid Ferry Road."

Smoke from the incident can be seen for miles.

The fire can be seen for miles. (Helen Keeling)
The fire can be seen for miles. (Helen Keeling)
A large fire has broken out at Studland in Dorset. (Helen Keeling)
A large fire has broken out at Studland in Dorset. (Helen Keeling)

A witness said they had to "drive through thick smoke while holding their breath to get to the ferry", Dorset Live reports.

The Sandbanks Ferry - which takes people from Sandbanks to Studland - is being used to evacuate people from their area.

A further fire just a few miles away is also being tackled on Ridgeway Hill near Church Knowle in Purbeck.

A fire service spokesperson said: "We were called to a large field fire at Ridgeway Hill, Church Knowle at 12pm. We have firefighters from Wareham, Swanage, Poole, Wimborne, Bere Regis and Hamworthy in attendance, using hose reel jets and beaters to bring the fire under control. We are asking people to avoid the road to Furzebrook from the A351."

Studland heath is a popular area for tourists, close to Studland beach (Google)
Studland heath is a popular area for tourists, close to Studland beach (Google)
The fire can be seen from Southbourne in Bournemouth. (Geoff zzzzzz)
The fire can be seen from Southbourne in Bournemouth. (Geoff zzzzzz)

The national officer for the Fire Brigades Union, Riccardo La Torre, warned on Thursday that emergency fire crews in the UK are "completely unprepared" for the heatwave.

Firefighters across the country have been dealing with an increasing number of grass fires, as prolonged dry conditions and scorching temperatures leave grassland areas susceptible to catching alight.

But unions say services have been cut over the last 12 years, meaning the work has been stretched.