A large fire broke out at a Surrey beauty spot on Saturday as temperatures soared across the South East.

Temperatures in parts of the UK reached highs of 28C, much higher than the average for the time of year, according to the Met Office.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service tackled a 20-hectare fire at Thursley Common, which sits on a nature reserve between Thursley and Elstead.

Residents from 14 homes nearby were evacuated by Surrey Police, who also closed off Thursley Road for public safety – a four-mile stretch.

Smoke from the fire is visible for a number of miles and we ask residents to keep their doors and windows closed to prevent breathing difficulties. Drivers in the area, including those using the A3, need to be aware that the smoke may affect visibility locally.

Surrey Police

The fire service urged members of the public to leave their cars behind if they parked near the common, and advised people living nearby to close their windows as the smoke plume “can be seen for miles”.

Sophie Garrett said she was “worried” when she noticed the blaze from 11 miles away while at Pewley Down park in Guildford.

I was worried initially because I didn’t know where it was, then exasperated when I had a look online and realised that it must be Thursley Common. Fires are quite common there in the summer and I don’t think people take enough care when it’s dry like this.

Sophie Garrett

Another onlooker captured the fire from Hankley Common, a park nearby, tweeting:

A sign at Thursley Common warns members of the public there is a “high” risk of fire, and urges people not to light flames and to dispose of rubbish carefully.