A huge fire broke out at a nature reserve in the Dorset countryside on Wednesday afternoon, sending a cloud of smoke through the air that could be seen as far away as London.
“The fire has been out for a couple of hours now and the incident commander says the flames are now contained,” a police spokesman said on Wednesday evening.
A series of British newspapers reported that a man had been detained for starting the blaze, but no police statement about the incident was posted on the force’s website.
Firefighters had been called to the Great Dorset Landscape Nature Reserve, also known as the Preston Peninsula nature reserve, at 4:20 p.m. local time (8:20 GMT) when a pine tree caught fire. Hundreds of local people had watched on, Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.
The group were evacuated, newspapers reported, adding that the woods were thick with smoke from the fire, which had been brought under control by 6:00 p.m.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman declined to comment on the reports, saying the incident was “an operational matter.”
Britain is still reeling from a devastating series of hurricanes that killed more than 80 people in Caribbean islands devastated by heavy flooding, and the man-made fire has seen smoke drift miles away as far away as London.
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