Page last updated at 20:11 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 21:11 UK

Crews called to three Dorset heath fires


More than 140 firefighters were called to Matchams

More than 140 firefighters have been tackling three more heath fires in Dorset, bringing the total to 10 in the county in the space of a month.

Crews were called at 1150 BST to Boundary Lane, Matchams, where the heath was alight and smoke was drifting across the A338 Bournemouth spur road.

A second call was received at 1200 BST about a fire at Creech Bottom, Stoborough, near Wareham.

At 1653 BST a third fire was reported off Ferry Road in Studland.

Five hectares of heathland was destroyed at Matchams. Crews were due to inspect the area later to determine the cause of the fire.

At the height of the Matcham's fire there were 100 firefighters from across east Dorset in attendance.

Arson suspected

In the second incident, police said four horses frightened by the flames had run into the road at Stoborough and by 1242 BST the fire there was spreading rapidly towards the A351.

Police closed the road at the Norden roundabout and Furzebrook roundabout for about an hour to allow fire crews to work.

Firefighters at the heath fire at Matchams
Five hectares of heathland was destroyed after the fire at Matchams

Five hectares of heath and gorse was destroyed by the Stoborough fire which is believed to have been started deliberately.

The flames were extinguished by 1315 BST and the road was reopened at 1351 BST.

Crews from Wareham and Swanage also required back-up for the Stoborough incident - at one stage there were six fire engines and support vehicles and more than 40 firefighters at the scene.

About 20 firefighters also attended the fire in Studland where about 500m of heathland was alight.

The fire, which is believed to have begun accidentally, was extinguished by 1736 BST, fire crews said.

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