THE fire service is no longer maintaining a constant presence on site at Wareham Forest in Dorset, following a devastating heath and woodland blaze.

An update issued by Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said a 24/7 watching brief will no longer be maintained.

However, daily re-inspections will be carried out on the area affect by fire, in coordination with Forestry England, which is continuing to patrol and monitor the site.

A fire service spokesperson said: "Although weather conditions have cooled, there is still a significant risk of wildfire across the Dorset area and, as such, further hotspots flaring up within Wareham Forest are expected and these will be dealt with by local fire crews as they occur."

The wildfire at Wareham Forest broke out on May 18 and was tackled by more than 150 firefighters at one point.

The firefighting effort included, in a county-first, a helicopter dropping water on areas of the blaze.

Around 200 ha of land was damaged during the fire, which had been declared a major incident at its height.

This story first appeared in the Bournemouth Echo.

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