The first incident was reported at 2.18pm on 3 May, and involved two separate fires off Hurn Road, St Leonards and St Ives. At that point, one fire was approximately 200 metres by 150 metres and the other was approximately 300 metres by 200 metres. Fire engines from Ringwood, Ferndown, Christchurch, Wimborne, Springbourne, Redhill Park, Swanage and Sturminster Newton were in attendance, together with small 4×4 appliances from Ferndown, Ringwood and Christchurch, the Unimog from Wareham and water carriers from Ringwood and Poole.
The fires were brought under control by 7pm when the response was scaled back, and the fire was extinguished by 9pm. It affected a 500 metre by 300 metre are of heathland and was believed to have been started accidentally.
The second incident was a fire that started at St Stephen’s Castle on Boveridge Heath just before 3pm the same afternoon and was attended by approximately 90 firefighters from across Dorset, with support from Hampshire & Isle of Wight FRS. On arrival, the fire had a front of approximately 200 metres. While the operation was scaled back by evening, some appliances remained on site overnight pending an investigation the following morning.
Both incidents were badly affected by strong winds and members of the public were asked to avoid the areas for their own safety.
While the incidents were ongoing, area manager Damien Bence said: “Both of these incidents are incredibly resource-intensive and we are grateful to colleagues in Hampshire & Isle of Wight FRS for their support. The strong winds are making the firefighting conditions very challenging, but progress is being made with both fires, thanks to the hard work of crews.”
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