MORE THAN 100 firefighters battled two large heath fires on the same day.

Crews from both Dorset and Wiltshire and Hampshire and Isle of Wight fire and rescue services were deployed yesterday (May 3).

The first incident was reported at 2.18pm off Hurn Road, St Leonards and St Ives, involving two separate fires, one of around 200m by 150m and the other around 300m by 200m.

Around 50 firefighters were tackling the blaze with fire engines from Ringwood, Ferndown, Christchurch, Wimborne, Springbourne, Redhill Park, Swanage and Sturminster Newton, together with small 4×4 appliances from Ferndown, Ringwood and Christchurch, the Unimog from Wareham and water carriers from Ringwood and Poole.

Then at 2.51pm DWFRS were called to a "rapidly developing" fire at Boveridge Heath, Verwood with around 90 firefighters on scene.

Fire engines from Verwood, Cranborne, Fordingbridge, Redbridge, Poole, Christchurch, Wimborne, Westbourne, Botley, Eastleigh (x2), Brockenhurst, New Milton, Romsey and Blandford, together with small 4x4 appliances from Verwood, Fordingbridge, Burley, Wimborne, Poole and Hamworthy, a water carrier from Wilton and a support appliance from Hamworthy.

The fire service said that both incidents were being badly affected by the strong winds, and local people were urged to stay away from these areas for their own safety.

By 7pm the incident at St Leonards and St Ives was under control and the number of fire appliances on scene was being scaled back to five fire engines and a water carrier.

Speaking last night, area manager Damien Bence said: “Both of these incidents are incredibly resource-intensive and we are grateful to colleagues in Hampshire and Isle of Wight FRS for their support.

"The strong winds are making the firefighting conditions very challenging, but progress is being made with both fires, thanks to the hard work of crews.”

By 9pm crews had left the incident at St Leonards and St Ives, which was confirmed as a fire affecting around 500m x 300m of heathland.

Six hose reel jets, a main jet and beaters were used to extinguish the blaze, which is believed to have started accidentally.

At Boveridge Heath, the number of appliances on scene was scaled back but fire crews remained on site overnight.

This fire affected around 12.7 hectares of forestry plantation. A reinspection is to carried out today, in liaison with Forestry England. The cause is currently unknown. 

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