THE FIRE service is warning people to keep their windows closed this morning as they continue to fight a blaze at a rubbish tip in Wareham.

A plume of smoke from the blaze at the Bere Road landfill is covering Bournemouth and Poole, with residents reporting a burning rubber smell.

A total of six fire engines, one Land Rover, one water carrier, one Unimog off road vehicle, and one command support unit were called to the site last night.

The blaze involves approximately 300 square metres of general rubbish.

The Dorset Fire and Rescue Service received numerous calls just before 5pm reporting a dark smoke plume from the vicinity of the landfill site.

A crew from Wareham fire station was mobilised to investigate.

On arrival the Wareham crew quickly confirmed the presence of a fire within the landfill site and requested the assistance of two further crews, which were mobilised from Bere Regis and Poole fire stations, and the water carrier also from Poole fire station.

It is understood the fire is now under control, but could be smouldering for several days. 

Administrator from Trigon landfill site, Keith Burden, said they received a message from a local resident at 4.30pm yesterday to tell them there was a fire.

He said the site has experienced only minor fires in the past.

"The others were put out quite quickly but this is persistent", he added.

The site is closed for the foreseeable future and he doesn't know when it will re-open.

"It is still burning at the moment but once it is out we can assess what to do next."

The landfill site also exports sand and clay.

He said people may have to use alternative landfill sites while this is closed.

Director of external affairs for Viridor Dan Cooke, said: “Personnel from Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, supported by colleagues from Viridor, are working hard to control a fire within a contained disposal cell at Trigon landfill restoration.

“Whilst the cause of the incident is unclear at this time, the advice to surrounding properties, as with any fire, is to close windows until the situation has resolved. With stringent regulation, monitoring and training, fires at landfill sites are thankfully rare.

“Staff followed standard response procedures at the site which manages non-hazardous household and business waste, and have remained present throughout the incident.”

Speaking this evening, Mr Cooke said staff are 'working closely' with DFRS.

The Environment Agency will be monitoring the site and surrounding area for the duration of the fire, which it expects to be around five days.

Spokesman Paul Gainey said: “At the moment there is nothing to suggest that there has been any impact to air or water quality but, as a safeguard, we are continuing to monitor and assess the impact of the fire.”

This dramatic picture of the fire was posted by Dorset Fire and Rescue area commander Craig Baker: