A HUGE wildfire has ripped through heathland in Surrey before spreading to Wentworth golf course where it halted a golf final.
Smoke from the inferno could be seen as far away as central London, as firefighters struggled to quell the raging blaze amid soaring temperatures.
An aerial view of the wildfire that began on Chobham Common, Surrey, but quickly spread to Wentworth golf course[/caption]
The blaze can be seen nearing the 10th hole during day three of The Rose Ladies Series on the West Course[/caption]
The fire can be seen approaching as the Rose Ladies Series on the West Course was in full swing [/caption]
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said it sent 10 fire engines, two water carriers and 10 other vehicles to tackle the intense and fast moving blaze which first broke out on Chobham Common.
Griff Ryan, 23, lives in Sunningdale near to the fire, and said the fire began with a “strange light” at about 1pm before smoke and then later a “wall of flames”.
He said: “Smoke got gradually worse and ash began falling into our garden.
“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.”
As flames spread across the West Course at the prestigious Surrey club, play was stopped as the Rose Ladies’ Series Grand Final neared its conclusion.
We could see it moving in the distance and it seemed to get closer pretty quickly
Golfer Felicity Johnson
It is understood the golf was suspended for the rest of the day with plans to continue the final round at 9.30am tomorrow morning.
According to Sky Sports News, no one has been injured on the golf club but everyone was asked to leave the West Course, one of three courses at the club.
Dramatic photos captured the smoke at the course near Virginia Water where temperatures hit 36C on Friday afternoon.
Sunningdale Golf Course, just three miles away, also stopped play and ensured everyone was in a safe space in case.
Felicity Johnson was on the ninth hole when she spotted players on the tenth tee box waving dramatically, at first thinking they were calling for a referee.
She told Sky 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.
“We all had to wait at a safe distance, a few green keepers and club staff were there quickly.
“I’ve been on the European Tour since 2006 and played in Australia with the bush fires around us which was bad but I have never seen anything like this just turning up on the day.”
Smoke can be seen billowing on Chobham Common, Surrey[/caption]
Smoke from the wildfire could be seen moving across a carriageway on the M25[/caption]
The wildfire then ripped towards the golf course[/caption]
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A spokesman for Surrey Fire and Rescue 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.”
Smoke from the fire was visible well over ten miles away and had earlier been mistakenly thought to be coming from Heathrow airport by some on social media.
The in-built irrigation system was switched on immediately while firefighters used hoses to try and put the flames out[/caption]
Players and caddies look across the course at the flames sweeping across the west course at Wentworth[/caption]
Caddies push the golf trolleys as the smoke billows in the background[/caption]
Play was halted on the concluding day of the Rose Ladies’ Series Grand Final[/caption]
The smoke was thick and the course was abandoned during Friday afternoon[/caption]