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Fire safety warning issued as blaze breaks out at Hankley Common in Surrey

Images and footage from the scene of the fire showed flames and large plumes of white/grey smoke billowing across the common.

24 July 2022

People have been urged to take steps to help prevent fires in the hot weather after a major incident was declared due to a large blaze at a beauty spot in Surrey.

At least eight hectares of land were affected by the fire at Hankley Common, which has previously been used to film part of the James Bond blockbuster Skyfall.

Images and footage from the scene of the fire showed flames and large plumes of white/grey smoke billowing across the common.

Smoke could be seen for miles as it billowed from the common (Jordan Bridge/PA)
Smoke could be seen for miles as it billowed from the common (Jordan Bridge/PA)

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was called just after midday on Sunday and said it expected crews to remain at the scene until at least Monday.

A major incident was declared but stood down at around 6.40pm.

Despite the downgrading, people were asked to avoid the area as the wildfire continued to burn.

The cause of the blaze is unknown, the fire service said, but it pleaded with people to “help us to prevent wildfires” by taking simple steps.

In a tweet, SFRS said: “Speak to young relatives about safety outdoors, pack a picnic instead of a BBQ, dispose of cigarettes and litter correctly.”

Some local roads were closed as smoke was carried across a large area of the county.

Flying instructor Jordan Bridge said the blaze was one of the largest he has seen in the area.

The 24-year-old, from Alton in Hampshire, said that at around lunchtime he saw “huge smoke clouds building to the east of Lasham Airfield” where he works.

He told the PA news agency: “After take-off I could see that the fire was covering a wide area with the smoke extending downwind over Guildford and Woking towards London.

“Obviously (I was) concerned for all involved in the local area given the already stretched resources of local fire services.

“I have seen wildfires before whilst flying but this was certainly one of the largest I’ve seen in the many years I’ve been in Surrey/Hampshire.”

The fire service thanked people who “generously donated additional food and drink” to crews, and asked that no more donations were sent after receiving a “great deal already”.

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