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Major Incident declared as cause of fire remains under investigation

Photo: The National Police Air Service

Almost 30 firecrews - some from as far away as Yeovil and Warminster - have been fighting a major fire in Dorset overnight.

Crews from Sturminster Newton, Blandford, Shaftesbury, Sherborne and Beaminster were also called to the scene in Wareham.

Around 100 hectares of heath and woodland caught alight, in what was declared a major incident overnight involving 150 firefighters.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service say they expect the incident to continue throughout today with the A35 likely to remain closed for a number of hours.

People are being urged to avoid the area and local residents should keep their windows and doors closed.

A spokesperson for the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service said: "The A35 between Bere Regis and Morden Park Corner as well as Sugar Hill and Bere Road have been closed due to the smoke plume affecting a wide area and making them impassable.

"The smoke is being blown towards the Bournemouth, Poole, Ferndown and Wimborne areas. 

"Residents are being urged to keep windows and doors closed as a precaution, particularly if you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

"Local people are also being made aware that due to the electricity pylons in the forest being affected by the fire, there may be some disruption to supplies in the local area. 

"Residents should use the 105 service if they experience a power cut.

"At this stage, the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but with the Amber Wildfire Alert still in place, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind the public about the importance of staying fire-aware when out and about in the countryside."

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