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Last Updated: Friday June 10 2011 11:46 GMT

Huge Dorset fire brought under control by firefighters

A firefighter sprays water over charred ground after a blaze in Dorset

Firefighters have spent the last 24 hours trying to put out the biggest heath fire in Dorset for 35 years.

Then fire was swept by strong winds across five square kilometres of Upton Heath in Poole - that's more than 600 football pitches.

Loads of people had to evacuate their homes, describing a "wall of fire" coming towards them.

Nobody's sure how the fire started, but police are investigating reports of two young people seen running away.

Four people had to see doctors after breathing in smoke.

People fled homes

Firetruck, photo by Ryan Brehaut
The area was engulfed by thick smoke

One 12-year-old girl named Olivia had to leave her house with her mum and sister because of the fire.

She said: "Police came and said we all had to leave. There was thick orange smoke everywhere.

"When you breathed it in you could definitely feel it. The sky was orange and there were times when it went grey, white as well."

Olivia and her family are now back at home.

All wildlife affected

A lizard clings to a charred tree branch
Wildlife, both large and small, has been affected by the damage

The fires have been really bad news for wild animals in the area.

Steve Davis from the Wildlife Trust said: "It's not just the bigger animals that have been affected... it is the whole ecosystem, the insects, for example, would have been taken out by the smoke."