Homes evacuated as crews continue to tackle 40-hectare Surrey wildfire

Edd Dracott, PA
·2-min read

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.