Flare clue in Bournemouth beach fire investigation

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Media captionA large fire broke out on Bournemouth beach near Pier Approach

Eyewitnesses say a gorse fire which led to a packed beach being evacuated may have been started by a flare.

Beachgoers saw a "massive fire" spread quickly up East Cliff on Bournemouth beach at about 15:30 BST on Saturday.

Pictures posted on social media showed yellow smoke rising from the undergrowth, apparently before the fire took hold.

A police spokesman declined to comment on reports that two youths had thrown a flare into the bushes.

Image copyright Tom Poole
Image caption A witness said the fire started after youths threw a yellow flare into bushes

Bournemouth Council said its seafront rangers guided beachgoers away from danger and ensured the area was clear.

Dorset Police said no injuries had been reported.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood posted on Twitter: "Huge praise for Bournemouth's Emergency Services in responding to major grass fire that spread rapidly on East Cliff cliff top above packed beach."

Image copyright National Police Air Service
Image caption The National Police Air Service assisted Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Fire Control
Image copyright Bournemouth Council
Image caption Bournemouth Council said smoke from East Cliff was visible from 15:40 BST

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