08 August 2020 00:32
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Aerial footage from the area shows the scale of the Chobham Common fire A large wildfire has been burning on heathland in Surrey amid soaring temperatures earlier in the south east of England. A huge plume of smoke could be seen rising from Chobham Common as multiple fire crews were sent to tackle the flames on Friday. Firefighters tweeted that anyone in the area should leave immediately. The grass fire, which is larger than 40 hectares, has spread to Wentworth Golf Club. Play was suspended at the club, with the Rose Ladies Series Grand Final brought to a halt.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Competitors took out their phones as the wildfire stopped play at Wentworth Golf Club Smoke from the fire was visible from more than 10 miles (16km) away, and some people on social media mistakenly said the smoke was coming from Heathrow Airport. A "significant number" of emergency services were likely to remain at the scene for "for some time," Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said at about 22:00 BST. Trains were disrupted and motorists were told to follow Surrey Police Twitter for road closure details. SFRS said it had sent 10 engines and 10 4x4 vehicles to help tackle the fire. "If you are on Chobham Common please evacuate the area immediately for your safety," the service said.
On its website, South Western Trains said a line was blocked at Longcross because of a fire next to the track and services may be cancelled, delayed or revised, with disruption expected until 20:00. The fire broke out as the UK was set for one of its hottest days on record, with temperatures reaching more than 36C (96.8F) in south-east England. Surrey Fire Brigades Union tweeted that the Surrey and neighbouring brigades were struggling to contain the fire in "arduous working conditions". Fire crews are battling a huge wildfire on Chobham Common in Surrey. Some 10 fire engines, two water carriers and several other vehicles have been dispatched to the scene to tackle to the fire, according to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. It added that the call came in at around 12.25pm on Friday, with initial crews taking 10 minutes to reach the scene. Image: Crews arrived on the scene in 10 minutes. The blaze, which is larger than 40 hectares (0.5 square kilometres), has spread to the nearby Wentworth Club golf course, ending play at the Rose Ladies Series Grand Final. Pictures from Sky Sports showed flames on the edge of the golf course, as competitors were sent away for safety. Advertisement Trains between Reading and London have been disrupted as a result of the fire, after smoke covered rail lines. It was initially thought the flames, which can be seen for up to 10 miles, were coming from Heathrow Airport after reports surfaced on social media. Those later turned out to be false. Local MP Michael Gove tweeted: "I'm horrified by the damage this wildfire has done to Chobham Common - and hope people will heed this evacuation warning - thanks to Surrey Fire and Rescue service for their bravery in tackling this terrible tragedy." Resident, 23-year-old Griff Ryan, said that the fire began with a "strange light", and later became a "wall of flames". Image: Drone footage shows the extent of the 40 hectare fire. Pic: Surrey Search and Rescue "Smoke got gradually worse and ash began falling into our garden," he said. "Now standing on Chobham road. At around 5pm fire still wasn't visible from the road. Image: Residents described it as a 'wall of smoke'. Pic: Surrey Police "Over about half an hour it's become visible and now can see a wall of flames down towards the railway line. "Other residents I've spoken to have said it's the worst they've seen in 30 years." Crews remain at the scene. ES News email The latest headlines in your inbox twice a day Monday - Friday plus breaking news updates Enter your email address Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid You already have an account. Please log in Register with your social account or click here to log in I would like to receive lunchtime headlines Monday - Friday plus breaking news alerts, by email Update newsletter preferences A number of homes have been evacuated while fire crews tackle a 40-hectare wildfire in Surrey. The blaze started in Chobham Common and had earlier spread to Wentworth golf course, halting play in the Rose Ladies Series Grand Final tournament. Surrey Fire and Rescue service said residents who have been evacuated from their homes will not be able to return until Saturday morning at the earliest. "The fire on Chobham Common is an ongoing incident with significant numbers of emergency services on the scene who are likely to remain there for some time," the fire service tweeted. "Some local roads in the area remain closed to allow crews to work and for public safety. Please continue to avoid the area. "A number of homes in the area have had to be evacuated for safety reasons. "Any resident that has been evacuated should not return to their homes until it's safe to do so – this will be tomorrow morning at the very earliest." The service earlier said it sent 10 fire engines, two water carriers and 10 other vehicles to tackle the blaze. Cabinet minister and MP for Surrey Heath Michael Gove described the fire as a "tragedy" as he thanked search and rescue teams for their help in dealing with the incident. Griff Ryan, 23, lives in Sunningdale near to the blaze, and said the fire began with a "strange light" at around 1pm before smoke and then later a "wall of flames". "Smoke got gradually worse and ash began falling into our garden," he told the PA news agency. "Now standing on Chobham road. At around 5pm fire still wasn't visible from the road. "Over about half an hour it's become visible and now can see a wall of flames down towards the railway line. "Other residents I've spoken to have said it's the worst they've seen in 30 years." A spokesman for the fire service said: "We received a call this afternoon around 12.25pm to a report of a fire on Chobham Common. "Ten fire engines have been sent in total, alongside multiple specialist vehicles, with the first arriving at the scene around 12.35pm. Approximately 41 hectares of grass and undergrowth are alight. "Crews remain at the scene tackling the fire." Smoke from the fire was visible well over ten miles away and had earlier been mistakenly thought to be coming from Heathrow airport by some on social media.