Devastating fire destroys Upton Heath

One of Dorset's largest heaths was almost completely destroyed by fire yesterday. According to the internet and TV reports, it seems like one of the biggest heath fires ever. Estimates in the afternoon said it was 100 hectares and spreading fast, with 20 appliances and 200 firefighters.

But by the evening, some estimates said it extended over four square kilometres (400 hectares). The true extent will be measured by GPS and computer mapping (GIS). It’s rare for such a fire to reach national headlines of the TV news on BBC1 and Channel 4, but this one did. Often when there’s a big heathland fire, some people get together in the days afterwards (once it’s safely damped down) and organise a rescue, to capture bewildered reptiles and move them to the nearest intact habitat. In this case, the task could be huge. If you want to help, email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and I’ll gather names (and mobile numbers please). Then I can pass them on if anyone does organise a rescue. In the meantime, all we can do is watch the news in horror. Cheers, Chris Gleed-Owen, Chair of Dorset Amphibian and Reptile Network