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Last Updated: Wednesday June 15 2011 17:05 GMT

Reptiles saved from Dorset heath fire by volunteers

Reptile rescued from the heath fire in Dorset

Watch Ricky's report on the reptile rescue

Reptiles that survived a huge heath fire in Dorset have been getting help from hundreds of volunteers.

The blaze spread rapidly over heathland near Upton, Poole, on Thursday.

Dorset Wildlife Trust called for helpers to save as many animals as possible from the burnt area and move them to new habitats.

The area was well-known as home to some of the UK's rarest wildlife, and the fire struck just at the peak of the bird and reptile breeding season.

Simon Cripps, from the trust, said: "Thousands of reptiles, including all six British species of reptile, have been killed along with countless invertebrates, representing the destruction of the entire ecosystem."

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The blaze was Dorset's biggest heath fire for 35 years and 200 firefighters were called to put it out.

Four people were treated after breathing in smoke and one firefighter was taken to hospital with exhaustion while another suffered minor burns to his arm.

Police are trying to trace two young men who they believe started the blaze deliberately.