Families evacuated as ‘largest fire in years’ blazes through hillside

Families had to be evacuated as what has been described as the "largest fire in years" tore through a hillside in Dorset.

The raging inferno is believed to have ravaged 1,000 metres of land on Canford Heath in Poole on Saturday (April 23).

Locals were rushed to a nearby leisure centre and police warned people to stay away in what Ferndown Fire Station described as "probably the largest fire in this location for a number of years".

A police helicopter was ordering local residents away using a tanoy as the blaze got closer to the houses.

Elizabeth Leddy, 28, said there were multiple fire engines at the scene, with roads near to her house closed off.

She explained: "The flames were close to spreading to the trees on the roadside at the intersection of Canford Heath road and Sherborn Crescent, they looked significant.

"The amount of smoke pluming out was like no Heath fire I've seen before."

Another nearby resident described the fire as "scary" and that it had caused her to be stuck on her road.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service describing the fire as "significant" and said a large number of its resources were in attendance, advising the public to avoid the area.

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The fire service said the incident was "now surrounded and under control" but warned people about potential road closures still in place.

They said: "Please be aware that the road closures will remain in place and whilst our presence at this incident will be reducing, a number of resources will remain on scene overnight checking for hotspots."

Wessex Water had been made aware of some supply issues in the area following the incident.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, with officials currently conducting an investigation.

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