Emergency services are battling to control a huge fire raging through a forest in Dorset.

The fire broke out in Wareham Forest this afternoon. 

Initially, 14 fire engines were sent to the scene. This has since been increased to 28.

The A35, between Bere Regis and Morden Park Corner, as well as Sugar Hill and Bere Road have been closed due to the smoke plume affecting a wide area and making them impassable.

The smoke is being blown towards the Bournemouth, Poole, Ferndown and Wimborne areas.

Residents are being urged to keep windows and doors closed as a precaution, particularly if you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

A spokesperson for the fire service has urged people to avoid the area and said they anticipate long delays on the roads.

Local people are also being made aware that due to the electricity pylons in the forest being affected by the fire, there may be some disruption to supplies in the local area.

Residents should use the 105 service if they experience a power cut.

Currently at the scene are crews from Bere Regis, two from Wareham, Wimborne, two from Christchurch, three from Poole, Weymouth, Westbourne, two from Blandford, two from Dorchester, two from Swanage, Ferndown, Redhill Park, two from Sturminster Newton, Shaftesbury, two from Bridport, Verwood, Springbourne, Warminster and New Milton.

Also on scene are a Unimog from Wareham; water carriers from Poole, Christchurch, Bridport and Yeovil; Land Rover pumps from Poole, Hamworthy, Wimborne, Swanage, Ferndown, Blandford, Christchurch, Beaminster and Charmouth; support units from Hamworthy, Sherborne and Ferndown; and the high volume pump from Christchurch.

Crews are using hose reel jets, main lines and beaters to tackle the fire. Sugar Hill and Bere Road have been closed as the smoke has made them impassable.

Dorset Echo: Smoke is visible from Sandbanks Picture: Liam NewmanSmoke is visible from Sandbanks Picture: Liam Newman

Dorset Police said they received a report at around 1.11pm from the fire service in relation to a large fire in the area of Sugar Hill and Bere Road near Wareham.

Officers have attended and put road closures in place on Bere Road between the A35 and Wareham.

Dorset Echo: A major emergency response underway Picture: Poole PoliceA major emergency response underway Picture: Poole Police

Members of the public are urged to avoid the area.

Dorset Echo: Picture: Sebastian InwoodPicture: Sebastian Inwood

The Dorset Marine Policing Team is assisting with the incident along with the NPAS helicopter.

More to follow