Firefighters are at the scene of a massive fire behind homes near Heathrow Airport with plumes of thick smoke seen across London.
The inferno has caught trees, hedgerows, shrubs and decking at the back of a number of properties on the road in Feltham with 60 people evacuated from their homes.
Dramatic video footage shows clouds of smoke behind a row of houses. One shared footage on social media of a back garden burning with raging orange flames as fire crews said their work had saved 30 homes.
Many living near the area have reported hearing a loud explosion with one saying: “Me and my dad heard a massive bang almost like a bomb or explosion”.
Video from the scene shows how within moments, dark orange flames jump into the sky, enveloping the surrounding trees and shrubland.
The fire appears to spread quickly, encroaching on the fence between the land and nearby homes.
Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters are at the scene on Hereford Road and the Brigade’s 999 Control Officers have taken 44 calls to the blaze so far.
“Crews have removed a number of LPG cylinders which were involved in the fire as some cylinders can explode when exposed to heat,” the London Fire Brigade said.
Station Commander Tamer Ozdemir, who is at the scene, said: “Firefighters have worked incredibly hard in hot, arduous conditions to stop the blaze spreading to nearby properties.
“Their hard work has saved approximately 30 homes in Hereford Road.
“Around 60 residents were evacuated due to the amount of smoke.
“Our drone team is on scene assisting crews with identifying further hot spots in the surrounding woodland.”
Abbey Mitchell, 23, who lives behind where the fire was raging, told The Mirror: “I first saw a tonne of black and grey smoke and a few flames. Two fire engines had turned up very quickly to the scene of the fire.
“The fire would be tamed on certain areas and then break out in another area; once breaking out the firemen were straight onto putting the fire out. They had the fire under control pretty fast.
“The smoke was blowing the opposite direction to where I live. There were at least three sounds of explosions at some point within the fire.
“The fire was put out within an hour and a half or so.
“There is still a fire engine there now observing the area.”
Metropolitan Police are assisting and have advised the public to “avoid the area”.
Historian Robert Harris saw the blaze from a plane coming into Heathrow.
Sharing a video he said: “Coming in to land at Heathrow just before 5pm today. The scorched fields. The fire!”
Reports suggest the fire broke out in a railway depot behind the houses on Hereford Road.
Concerned residents saw the blaze just metres from their garden fences but have now been evacuated.
The massive plume of black smoke could be seen from across West London with residents reporting smoke wreathing Feltham High Street and some saying it’s hard to breathe with ash falling.
The daughter of two residents, aged in their 60s, told MyLondon she was so worried for her parents’ safety that she urged them to prepare to leave the area. She said: “We drove past Hereford Road about 10 minutes after my dad sent us videos of the fire. We saw people coming down the road – I think they were being evacuated.
“The first video they sent looked like a bad fire. In the second video, the flames spread so quickly I told them to get ready to leave. Luckily they live on the other side of the rail tracks.”
Residents have praised the “brave” firefighters working to control the huge blaze. One wrote on Twitter: “You are all so brave, thank you for everything you do.”
The Brigade was called at 4.35pm and fire crews from Hillingdon, Kingston, Southall, Surbiton, Tooting and surrounding fire stations are at the scene.
The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.
Roads in the area have been closed by emergency services. The A312 Harlington Road East is closed at the junction of A312 Uxbridge Road, according to traffic monitor JamBuster.
Traffic is slow moving on diversion along Hanworth Road.
Heathrow Airport confirms there is no disruption to flights amid the fire.
A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said the fire is not affecting the airport’s operations with planes continuing to land and take off.
Feltham has been hit by multiple fires as the parched weather continues.
The fire on Hereford Road today is the third fire to occur in Feltham this week.
On Monday 100 firefighters rushed to Hatton Road where around six hectares of land were alight, including standing crop, a field, parkland, grassland, a cemetery and an animal sanctuary.
The following day on Tuesday, 60 firefighters were called to Uxbridge Road where another six hectares of grass, trees and undergrowth had been damaged.
The fires are not thought to be linked.