PHOTOS show the extent of the heathland fire which quickly engulfed much of Parley Common earlier today (Wednesday).
Fire crews descended on the common area behind Barns Road Centre, Ferndown, just before midday to tackle the blaze, which was put out using two main lines and three hose reel jets.
It took crews nearly an hour to completely extinguish the fire, but they remained on site for some time afterwards to ensure that no remaining hot spots could be found.
After firefighters left the scene, the Echo spoke to a dog walker and a Ferndown resident who said he initially thought the blaze was a controlled blaze.
He said: “You get a little controlled combustion here and I was talking to someone at the top about it. We thought that was it at first, but then I said it was getting too big for that.
“We looked and realized it was a real fire, so I phoned the [fire service] but a lady from the community center had already called.
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“They came out very quickly, around three or four crews who went straight to the point. It started small in a corner but the breeze pushed it further. I wouldn’t say it was raging, but the flames spread around [4 feet] high. You never know what’s going to happen, do you?
The man also said he saw a deer jump from the burning heathland and into a nearby wooded area. He added that the deer appeared unscathed from the fire.
The now black and charred section of moorland is a short walk from the center of Barns Road, which was partly used as a children’s nursery.
A Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Crews from Ferndown, Redhill Park and Poole, along with 4×4 pumpers from Wimborne and Ringwood, the Unimog from Wareham and a water carrier from Ringwood attended the incident which involved an area of moorland measuring approximately 300m by 100m.
No details on the cause of the fire were available, the spokesman said.