Despite repeated warnings against having barbecues and bonfires, firefighters were called to extinguish 18 fires in the open just yesterday - on top of trying to deal with a major blaze at Wareham Forest.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are pleading with the public to stop having barbecues and fires in the open and 'consider the consequences of your actions.'

At this time of year there is usually an increase in wildfires which is why these activities are discouraged. However, the brigade is faced with the additional challenge of trying to fully extinguish a huge blaze in Wareham.

Firefighters from all DWFRS's 50 stations still helping put out the fire nine days on, yet crews were called to 18 other fires caused by disposable barbecues and unattended bonfires yesterday alone.

Whilst 11 fire engines and numerous other resources were dealing with the fire at Wareham, the brigade was mobilised to deal with another heathland fire.

Firefighters from Bere Regis were called to the fire located near the Halfway Inn, close to Stoborough Heath and six miles down the road from Wareham Forest, shortly after 7.30pm.

South West Farmer:

  • Firefighters were called to deal with another heathland fire near Stoborough Heath Picture: BERE REGIS FIRE STATION

A total of three fire engines and three off-road appliances were requested and sent, and there were concerns the fire would spread. To prevent the fire from escalating, some of the resources from the Wareham Forest incident had to quickly be released from their important work of damping down that fire to help.

In a separate incident, one crew from Sturminster Newton and one from Blandford attended a large bonfire last night.

Not only did this tie up two vital appliances, this bonfire was also backing onto a large area of dry land - posing a huge risk of a large scale wildlife as the one currently on going at Wareham Forest.

A spokesman said: "We are asking 'please do not have any barbecues, campfires or bonfires over the coming days.' Our resources are already stretched, please help us by not doing anything that could lead to another fire elsewhere."