Huge wildfire dubbed ‘largest for years’ takes over hillside forcing locals into shelter


Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze at Canford Heath in Poole, Dorset, for hours on Saturday evening, with evacuated residents huddled in a nearby leisure centre.

Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze in Canford Heath for hours

A huge heathland fire driven by strong winds saw orange flames cover the rural land and smoke fill the streets.

Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze late into Saturday night at Canford Heath in Poole, Dorset.

Residents evacuated their homes and huddled at Ashdown Leisure Center with Ferndown Fire Station tweeting it was “probably the largest fire in this location for a number of years”.

The fire is estimated to have covered up to a 1,000 meters of land.

A police helicopter ordered people away using a tannoy as the flames got close to homes which back onto the heath.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service said at just after 10.20pm yesterday the incident, which it was initially called to on Saturday afternoon, was “now surrounded and under control”.

“Please be aware that the road closures will remain in place and whilst our presence at this incident will be reducing, a number of resources will remain on scene overnight checking for hotspots,” the service added.

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Smoke and flames fill the air
(

Image:

Matt Hicks)

Earlier scenes on social media showed huge orange flames covering a vast area of ​​rural land, with thick smoke pouring into the air.

Canford Heath is known for being the largest heathland in Dorset, and the largest lowland heath in the UK.

It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and apart from the Dorset Heathlands Special Protection Area.







It was described as “probably the largest” fire seen in the area for years
(

Image:

Matt Hicks)

Ferndown Fire Station tweeted the blaze was “probably the largest fire in this location for a number of years.”

“At its height there were 15 pumps, four water carriers and six off-road” vehicles, the station said.

Elizabeth Leddy, 28, from Poole, told the PA news agency: “The amount of smoke pluming out was like no Heath fire I’ve seen before.”







Residents were evacuated to a leisure center as fire crews worked into the night
(

Image:

Matt Hicks)

Another nearby resident said the “scary” fire meant she was stuck on her road.

Wessex Water had been made aware of some supply issues in the area following the incident, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service said, as it urged members of the public to contact the supplier directly if the problems continued.

Dorset Police earlier said inquiries to establish the cause of the fire were ongoing.







Firefighters remained overnight to check for hotspots
(

Image:

Matt Hicks)

At the height of the incident, the evacuation center saw 18 people taking shelter, reports DorsetLive.

The youngest was around seven years old, and the eldest was 78.

But it wasn’t just human residents who were taken in – the center also welcomed a number of guinea pigs, three cats and two dogs.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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