Wildfire on Hankley Common sends smoke billowing across London as firefighters battle four blazes

Wildfire on Hankley Common in Surrey sends smoke billowing across West London and threatens to delay flights at Heathrow as firefighters battle four major blazes in and around the capital

  • Surrey Fire & Rescue Service declare ‘major incident’ as woods burn near capital
  • Residents report smoke in the air up to 30 miles away as scrubland is aflame
  • Weather less hot than in previous weeks, but drier air has made land vulnerable
  • Emergency services urge residents to ‘avoid the area to allow our crews to work’
  • Added: ‘Windows and doors should be closed if nearby and pets kept indoors’
  • Site is used for military training and was featured in the James Bond film Skyfall

Four wildfires broke out in and around London, sending smoke across the capital and onto the runway at Heathrow Airport this afternoon.

Dozens of fire engines and hundreds of firefighters are attending to blazes in Hankley Common, Surrey, Hayes, Enfield and Thamesmead.

Residents reported smoke in the air more than 30 miles from Hankley Common in Elstead, where scrubland is ablaze.

The cause of the fire is currently unclear.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service declared a major incident and urged people to ‘avoid the area to allow our crews to work.’

The service wrote after 2.30pm: ‘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. More info to follow.’

A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport told MailOnline the wildfire was not impacting arrivals or departures.

Hankley Common was aflame this afternoon as dry weather and high winds prompted fire

Eyewitness footage shows the scrubland in Surrey extremely dry and on fire this afternoon

Eyewitness footage shows the scrubland in Surrey extremely dry and on fire this afternoon

Images taken from above showed the smoke billowing out of Surrey's Hankley Common

Images taken from above showed the smoke billowing out of Surrey’s Hankley Common

The site is known as a military training zone and was used for the filming of the Bond film Skyfall

The site is known as a military training zone and was used for the filming of the Bond film Skyfall

The runway at Heathrow appeared cloudy with smoke from the wildfire in Surrey, west of London

The runway at Heathrow appeared cloudy with smoke from the wildfire in Surrey, west of London

But officials at the UK's busiest airport insisted departures and arrivals remain unaffected

But officials at the UK’s busiest airport insisted departures and arrivals remain unaffected

A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said the incident was not yet affecting flight plans

A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said the incident was not yet affecting flight plans

Heathrow Airport was the scene of increasingly smoky air, a livestream on Big Jet TV showed.

Surrey Police tweeted at 4.14pm: We’re currently assisting our colleagues with a large fire in Elstead which broke out on the common this afternoon.

‘Thursley Road is currently closed and we are asking people to stay away from the area while we deal with the incident. Thank you.’

Miles away from the scene of the fire, a bird's eye view showed the smoke spread

Miles away from the scene of the fire, a bird’s eye view showed the smoke spread

One West London resident said they got a headache in the smoky air after spending 30 minutes outside

One West London resident said they got a headache in the smoky air after spending 30 minutes outside

‘I’ve just been out watering the garden for half an hour and now I’ve got a headache’, one local said.

Smoke billowing from Hankley Common was also visible from the South Downs.

Homeowners up to 30 miles from Hankley Common said their homes were becoming smoky, forcing them to close windows and doors.

One Twitter user wrote after 4.30pm: ‘Smoke from Hankley Common is now in my flat.. I live in Addlestone.’

Nearby Guildford Borough Council tweeted: ‘Major incident at Hankley Common please avoid the area.’

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