Homes have been evacuated after a massive 40 hectare wildfire in Surrey with homeowners told not to come back until ‘tomorrow at the earliest’.
Play at the Rose Ladies Series Grand Final had to be halted and the final tomorrow has been cancelled after a ‘wall of flames’ which began on Chobham Common spread to Wentworth golf course.
Around 60 houses, home to about 100 people, have been evacuated from Heather Drive in Ascot due to plumes of smoke in the air.
Houses on the road sold for more than £2million last year but are not thought to be in danger of being caught in the blaze.
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said it sent 10 fire engines, two water carriers and 10 other vehicles to tackle the blaze.
Police have warned the fire is travelling fast due to the wind and told people on the common to leave the area immediately.
The blaze could be seen from more than 20 miles away in west London and from tall buildings in central London.
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.
It said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Surrey County Council told MailOnline fire crews are likely to be at the scene for the whole weekend to tackle the blaze.
The cause of the fire is being investigated but the council said the weather and heat had a part to play.
Griff Ryan, 23, who lives in Sunningdale near to the blaze, 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.’
Surrey Heath MP and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said he was ‘horrified’ by the damage caused by the fire.
Earlier today, 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.’
Surrey Police added: ‘Surrey Fire and Rescue are working hard to get the fire under control, and we are assisting with evacuations and road closures.
‘If you are on the common you need to evacuate immediately, following instructions from the police and fire officers on the ground.
‘If you decided to walk off the common, but have left a vehicle in one of the car parks, please message us immediately so we can account for you.
‘The fire is travelling fast due to the wind, and there is also a risk of reduced visibility due to smoke.
‘If you are affected by the smoke from the fire please keep windows and doors shut to avoid health problems.’
Pro golfer Felicity Johnson told Sky News Sports News: ‘I was just on ninth green, the group ahead had teed up and then we could see a lot of smoke.
‘We could see it moving in the distance and it seemed to get closer pretty quickly. We waited five to ten minutes and it was the noise that was pretty scary.
‘We all know how fast fire can travel and then we saw ash landing on our clothes.’
According to Sky Sports News, no one has been injured on the golf club but everyone was asked to leave the West Course.
Smoke from the fire was visible in London and had earlier been mistakenly thought to be coming from Heathrow airport by some on social media.
MP for Surrey Heath Michael Gove said: ‘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.’
Ash assumed to be from the fire has been reported to have fallen on homes as far as Windsor.
Councillor for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said: ‘Ash is now falling in my garden in Windsor.
‘I can only assume from Chobham. It must be a huge fire.’
The railway at Longcross in Surrey was blocked and trains could pass because the fire encroached on the line.
The Surrey Heath Liberal Democrats said: ‘Trains between Reading and Waterloo will run between Reading and Ascot or Waterloo and VirginiaWater, with replacement transport between Ascot and Virginia Water.
‘Disruption expected until 8pm.’
Chobham Road was closed between Titlarks Hill Road and the roundabout junction with Windsor Road and Chertsey Road.
Rose Ladies Series is a one-off professional women’s tournament, consisting of seven single day competitions, culminating in a three-day grand final.
The golf has been suspended for the rest of the day and plans to continue the final round at 9.30am tomorrow morning have been cancelled.
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has been approached for comment.