Dorset heath fire 'spreading rapidly'

About 200 firefighters are tackling a very large fire which is spreading rapidly across heathland in Dorset, putting homes at risk.

Strong winds are causing the fire, on about three sq km (740 acres) of Upton Heath, Poole, to quickly spread.

Homes in nearby Beacon Hill Road have been evacuated and crews are tackling the fire from behind the properties.

Crews in 30 engines, 11 Land Rovers and other support vehicles were called at about 1400 BST.

Homes in Long Meadow Lane are also under threat. Police are on site ready to evacuate residents from their properties if needed.

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service is urging members of the public to stay away from the heath and for homeowners to be prepared to leave their properties if the fire approaches.

A spokeswoman said: "If smoke or fire is approaching your property, we would remind the public to leave their property and not to go back inside for any reason."

Upton Community Centre has been opened for people who have had to leave their homes.

Smoke from the fire can be seen for miles around and is blowing across parts of the A35.

The Upton slip road, where the A350 meets the A35 Upton Bypass, is closed and Dorset Police is asking drivers to avoid the area.