Chobham Common: People evacuated from homes face second night away as fire still rages

8 August 2020, 20:26

A number of people were evacuated on Friday evening and are still not able to return to their homes
A number of people were evacuated on Friday evening and are still not able to return to their homes. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

People evacuated from their homes after a fire broke out in Chobham Common will have to spend another night away as the fire continues to burn.

Fire crews are still tackling the blaze on Saturday evening, more than 24 hours after it started to burn on the heathland.

Emergency services believe that 140 acres have been affected by the fire, which at its height required more than 40 vehicles including fire engines, specialist units and 4x4s.

A number of people were evacuated on Friday evening and are still not able to return to their homes.

In a joint statement released on Saturday evening, Surrey Police and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said: "Following discussions between partners a number of properties have had to be evacuated due to safety reasons and at this time it is not safe for those residents to return to their homes.

"A number of local roads remain closed and we're also asking people to avoid the area."

The forces believe it is still to early to say what caused the fire but said "the extreme temperatures across the county have no doubt had an impact."

They also asked people to avoid lighting bonfires or using disposable barbecues to stop any similar incidents.

Firefighters were first called to the scene shortly after midday on Friday.

The flames also spread to Wentworth golf course, halting play in the Rose Ladies Series Grand Final tournament.

Handout photo dated 07/08/20 issued by Surrey Search and Rescue showing an aerial view of the blaze that began on Chobham Common
Handout photo dated 07/08/20 issued by Surrey Search and Rescue showing an aerial view of the blaze that began on Chobham Common. Picture: PA

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 said.

"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."

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