Update: Satellite image shows damage from Wareham Forest Fire

Update: Satellite image shows damage from Wareham Forest Fire

Published by George Sharpe at 5:36pm 20th May 2020. (Updated at 5:42pm 20th May 2020)

A new satellite image has shown damage to 190 hectares of heathland at Wareham Forest.

Around 65 firefighters are still on scene at present.

The fire engulfed around 190 hectares of forest and heathland, after it started on Monday afternoon.

Over 150 firefighters and 20 fire engines were on the scene at the height of the emergency response.

The area is still smouldering and satellite imagery has now revealed the extent of the fire.

Forestry England has now begun their clean-up of the damage.

Simon Smith, Head of Sustainable Land Management for Forestry England’s local team said:

“Thank you to all the fire crews, local partners and our forestry teams for their incredible work. This is a long, tough job in hot and smoky conditions.”

“Everyone’s hard work means we can now assess the damage to wildlife and the trees to begin planning the forest’s recovery. Sadly, I know from experience that it will take years, if not decades, for this habitat to recover. Hopefully, the impacts aren't as bad as they look at first.

It's estimated that hundreds of animals and plants will have perished in the blaze.

Wareham Forest is part of a large area of heathland and is internationally recognised for the rare habitats and wildlife that lives there.

Nightjars are thriving in Dorset

It includes birds such as the nightjar and the Dartford warbler, as well as every UK reptile species, including the rare smooth snake and sand lizard.

Simon added:

"Forestry England’s local team still have a lot to do. We will carry on dampening down the area to make sure the fire doesn’t re-light and the clean-up operation could take weeks.”