Terrified residents ordered to flee homes as wildfires rip through woodland with smoke billowing over Bournemouth beach

BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: MaxWillcock/BNPS Pictured: An aerial view of the blaze. A large heath fire is tearing through a precious nature reserve next to a nudist beach as the drought conditions spark chaos. The blaze started close to Knoll Beach and is spreading through the tinder dry heath on Dorset’s Studland peninsula. The chain […]

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BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: MaxWillcock/BNPS Pictured: An aerial view of the blaze. A large heath fire is tearing through a precious nature reserve next to a nudist beach as the drought conditions spark chaos. The blaze started close to Knoll Beach and is spreading through the tinder dry heath on Dorset’s Studland peninsula. The chain […]Credit: BNPS

TERRIFIED residents have been ordered by firefighters to leave their homes “for their own safety” while wildfires rip through a woodland near Bournemouth beach.

Smoke today billowed into the sky after a large blaze involving undergrowth and gorse broke out at Studland Heath just after 1pm.

Billows of smoke from a grassland fire on the Purbeck in Dorset can be seen from Bournemouth Beach

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Billows of smoke from a grassland fire on the Purbeck in Dorset can be seen from Bournemouth BeachCredit: Hyde News & Pictures
The fire broke out at Studland Heath just after 1pm today

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The fire broke out at Studland Heath just after 1pm todayCredit: BNPS

Fire service say crews from Springbourne, Poole, Westbourne and Swanage are in attendance, with other crews on their way. 

Firefighters have also asked people “to leave the heath for their own safety, and to avoid Ferry Road” while the Sandbanks Ferry has been suspended.

A spokeswoman for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “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.

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

Sandbanks Ferry has confirmed its ferry service is suspended as firefighters tackle the blaze. 

A tweet reads: “FERRY SERVICE SUSPENDED for vehicles due to a large fire on Studland side very near to Ferry Road. We’ll keep you updated – Fire Service on scene.”

Smoke can be seen for miles in the area, with the smoke seen from Studland Beach, Sandbanks, Broadstone and Southbourne in Bournemouth.

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One person in the Studland area said they had to “drive through thick smoke while holding their breath to get to the ferry”.

Firefighters a few miles inland are also tackling a large field fire on Ridgeway Hill near Church Knowle in the Purbecks, with at least three fire crews at the scene.

More firefighters have travelled to the field to help extinguish the fire. 

Motorists are being advised to “avoid” the road to Furzebrook from the A351 due to the number of firefighters in the area.

A fire service spokeswoman said: “We were called to a large field fire at Ridgeway Hill, Church Knowle at 12pm. 

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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.”