AROUND eight hectares of Ringwood Forest were damaged after a wildfire ravaged the area last week.

The fire, involving a large area of trees and scrubland was reported to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) at around 5.30pm on Monday, August 10.

At the height of the incident, HFRS says there were 110 firefighters at the scene. HFRS was working alongside Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to tackle the blaze.

Specialist vehicles and appliances from Ringwood, Lyndhurst, Fordingbridge, Burley and Totton fire stations were used.

The stop message for fire crews came in on Thursday morning at around 10.50am and the incident was left in the hands of Forestry England.

Crews extinguished and dampened down the gorse and woodland area using jets and hose reels.

However, over the weekend fire crews were called back to Ringwood Forest to deal with hotspots. Crews from Ringwood and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service were mobilised at 9.44am on Saturday and extinguished a number of hotspots.

The fire service later returned on Sunday at 5.33pm to an area of approximately 10m x 10m of hotspots which were extinguished using one hose reel jet. A crew from Verwood attended.

HFRS service said: “The entire perimeter was checked on foot by firefighters and no further hotspots were found. It was agreed that Forestry England would continue to monitor the area and the stop message came in at 6.46pm.”

A spokesperson for Forestry England said: “Dorset and Hampshire fire services have been leading on this but our teams supported them on fighting the fire and are still involved in dampening down hot spots and looking out for any signs of the fire restarting – this can often be the case as the heat of the fire goes down into the soil and can pop up at a later time via tree roots etc.

“Once this work has been completed we will look at the best way to help the area recover although it can take many years for this to happen given the impact on trees, soil and wildlife. The total area affected by the fire was eights hectares.”