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Updated: ‘Please Stay Away from Fires’ Plead Firefighters Still at Work on Hankley Common

Published on: 24 Jul, 2022
Updated on: 25 Jul, 2022

Hankley Common Fire Photo Surrey Fire & Rescue Service

By Hugh Coakley and Martin Giles

This morning (July 25) Surrey Fire and Rescue has repeated its call for the public to be aware of the current increased fire risk and to stay away from the fires for their own safety.

Firefighters are continuing to deal with the fire at Hankley Common.

In Tweets, SFRS said: “We currently have 11 fire and rescue vehicles at this wildfire and specialist wildfire advisors. Around 50 hectares of land have been affected, although a lot of this is now damping down and dealing with hotspots.

“Please continue to stay away from this area – we are still experiencing people turning up and it is not safe. Thank you again to all those who donated and to all staff/partners who are responding to this incident.

“Keep windows and doors closed if you can smell smoke. Conditions remain dry across the county so, please be #WildfireAware. Our team is incredibly busy, so please help us by acting responsibly both at home and in your local area.

Yesterday we reported:

A large wildfire is being fought at Hankley Common south-east of Farnham. Smoke is visible from miles around and can be seen from the A3 and the Hog’s Back. A major incident has been declared.

Parts of Puttenham, Worplesdon and north-west Guildford have been shrouded in smoke directed by the south-westerly wind.

The fire service 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.”

Police vehicle acting as a road barrier near Hankley Common. Photo Hugh Coakley

A policeman told Dragon reporter Hugh Coakley, attending the scene, that the fire was reported at around 2.30.

Hugh Coakley reports: “A member of the fire crew on site said they had been called from Camberley. He said knowing how short Surrey is of firefighters, there will also be crews from London.

“A fireman said: ‘With this wind there’s no chance of stopping it.’

“I can hear gunshots as blank ammunition on the ground going off.” Hankley Common is an army training area.

The public has been warned repeatedly during the heatwave of the escalated risk of wildfires. Photo Hugh Coakley

Some roads have been closed including part Thursley Road south of Elstead.

Emergency services are present with police advising residents and motorists where to go while firefighters tackle the fire.

One firefighter said he had never seen smoke over so large an area.

Hugh Coakley ended his report: “I left on the advice of a firefighter who said with the potential for the wind to change direction, it was not safe.”

At 5pm Surrey Fire & Rescue (SFRS) tweeted: “Our control room is receiving an incredibly high number of calls currently, and we are in attendance at a number of incidents around the county. If you see fire, call 999 – however please do not report smoke clouds at this time.”

Earlier they warnd: “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 keep our outdoors safe: pack a picnic instead of a disposable bbq and dispose of cigarettes correctly.”

See also: Inadequate Firefighting Capacity Claimed As Thursley Wildfire Brought Under Control

More photos taken by Hugh Coakley at the scene:


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