Massive Bournemouth blaze engulfs three beach huts and races towards nearby hotel as sunworshippers are evacuated from sands by emergency services
- Dramatic pictures show an inferno ripping up the heath-covered cliff face amid a plume of thick black smoke
- Emergency services have scrambled to the West Undercliff area, where sun bathers have been evacuated
- The fire has quickly spread from the burning beach huts and paved a line of destruction up 100sqm of heath
- Crews from at least four fire stations on the south coast have been deployed to tackle the blaze
Firefighters are battling to stop a huge blaze engulfing a seaside hotel in Bournemouth after three beach huts went up in flames.
Dramatic pictures show an inferno ripping up the heath-covered cliff face while a plume of thick black smoke billows into the sky.
Emergency services have scrambled to the West Undercliff area, where sun bathers have reportedly been evacuated.
The fire has quickly spread from the burning beach huts and paved a line of destruction up 100sqm of heath where photos show it is perilously close to a cliff-top hotel.
Crews from at least four fire stations on the south coast have been deployed to tackle the blaze and an aerial appliance has been brought in.
Firefighters are battling a huge blaze on Bournemouth beach after three beach huts went up in flames
Unconfirmed reports suggest the fire was sparked by one of the burning beach huts before quickly engulfing 100sqm of heath
Emergency services have scrambled to the area between Bournemouth Pier and Branksome beach, where sun bathers have reportedly been evacuated
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Brigade said: ‘Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is currently dealing with a fire on West Undercliff in Bournemouth, affecting three beach huts and approximately 100 sqm of heath on the cliff face.
‘We were called to the scene at 3.51pm and have fire crews in attendance from Redhill Park, Springbourne, Westbourne and Christchurch, together with the aerial appliance from Westbourne. Additional crews are en route.
‘The fire is causing significant smoke across the promenade and across West Hill Road.
‘People are asked to stay away from the area, and to keep doors and windows closed as a precaution.’
Dorset Police tweeted: ‘Please avoid the area of the West Cliff lift on Bournemouth’s West Cliff following a beach hut fire, which has spread to nearby beach huts and is moving up the cliff.
‘A cordon is in place for the safety of members of the public. We are assisting with the cordon.’
The seaside town is one of the most popular coastal spots in the country and today drew hundreds of people.
Ross Millen, of the Bournemouth Echo, tweeted: ‘A large segment of the cliff between Bournemouth pier and Branksome beach has caught fire.
‘Emergency services all on scene and the section of beach nearest the fire has been evacuated.
‘Locals saying they first smelt the smoke from the town centre around 45 minutes ago.’
Thick black smoke is billowing upwards into the sky as beach-goers watch in horror
Dramatic pictures show an inferno ripping down a steep bank of trees adjacent to the sand