Surrey wildfire: ‘Major incident’ declared as Hankley Common blaze breaks out at beauty spot

Wildfire has broken out in Hankley Common in Surrey

Fire crews have been tackling blazes at Rammey Marsh and Cranford Park ‘the size of four football pitches’ after fires broke out over the weekend.

A major incident was also declared after a wildfire broke out in Surrey on Sunday (24 July) afternoon.

The blaze started at Hankley Common at around noon and smoke was reported as far as Guildford, West London and Heathrow.

Fire crews from across Surrey as well as from Hampshire and West Sussex have been called to the blaze.

People have been advised to avoid the area with the warning to stay “far away from the fire as it can travel quickly”.

What has the fire service said?

Surrey Fire and Rescue tweeted: “We have declared a major incident at Hankley Common due to a large fire in the open.

“We have several fire engines in attendance.

“There is a great deal of smoke so please avoid the area, windows and doors should be closed if nearby and pets kept indoors.”

Before following up: “We were called to the fire just after midday today & currently have 19 vehicles in attendance, including support from @HantsIOW_fire & @WestSussexFire.

“Vehicles include fire engines, specialist units and 4x4s. At least eight hectares are estimated to be affected.”

Adding more detail on Facebook, SFR said: “Some local roads are closed and we’re asking people to avoid the area. Crews are expected to remain on scene at least until tomorrow.

“At this time the cause is unknown.

“Please help us keep our Surrey outdoors safe: pack a picnic instead of a disposable bbq dispose of litter and cigarettes correctly.”

Is it still a major incident?

In an update at around 7pm on Sunday, Surrey Fire Service said: “as of 6.40pm, this incident is no longer considered a ‘major incident’. However, there is still a wildfire and we still ask you to avoid the area.”

London Fire Brigade has urged people to cancel all planned barbecues, remove rubbish, especially glass, and dispose of cigarettes properly.

The service tweeted: "Please help us prevent further fires by cancelling all planned BBQs, removing rubbish especially glass from grassland & disposing cigarettes correctly. Our firefighters & control officers are doing a fantastic job in challenging conditions. Your co-operation will help us greatly."

What have police said?

Surrey Police tweeted: “We’re currently assisting our @SurreyFRS colleagues with a large #fire in #Elstead which broke out on the common this afternoon (24 July).

“Thursley Road is currently closed and we are asking people to stay away from the area while we deal with the incident. Thank you.”

Fire at Hankley Common. Picture: Surrey Fire and Rescue

How bad was the fire?

Videos and pictures from social media capture the scale of the wildfire this afternoon.

One person reported being able to see smoke caused by the wildfire from “40 miles away”

Smoke has been reported as far as West London and Heathrow airport.

Is a cause for the fire known?

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

While it said the reason for the blaze has not been established, the fire service urged people to “please help keep our outdoors safe: pack a picnic instead of a disposable bbq & dispose of cigarettes correctly”.

The common was used for filming for part of the James Bond film Skyfall.