Fire destroys part of Canford Heath

Fire crews at Canford Heath Image copyright DORSET FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE
Image caption The fire broke out around midnight

A fire which destroyed an area of Dorset heath land overnight is thought to have been started deliberately.

At its height, two hectares (five acres) of gorse and heather at Canford Heath in Poole were alight.

Dorset Fire and Rescue tweeted the 70 firefighters had faced "difficult conditions" in extinguishing the fire, which broke out around midnight.

Crews remain at the scene to deal with hotspots on the health, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Image copyright dorset fire and rescue service
Image caption Crews were working in "difficult conditions", Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said

Station manager Stuart Gillion said: "The north easterly wind was pushing the fire towards the residential area of the heath.

"If it wasn't for our swift intervention, the fire would have spread very quickly".

An investigation into the cause is underway, although the fire service said it was thought to have been deliberate.

Firefighters were also called to a smaller heath fire at nearby Avon Heath Country park on Thursday afternoon. It is thought to have started accidentally.

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