Residents near Hankley Common returned home on Tuesday (July 26) after being evacuated by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service last Sunday (July 24) after a wildfire ripped through an area equal to 60 football pitches.

Firefighters were called just after midday and at the height of the fire it raged across 50 hectares (123 acres) of the common known for its appearance in the Bond film Skyfall.

Fire crews evacuated Woolfords Road residents and other roads around the common and nature reserve as the fast-moving blaze raged out of control.

The fire was labelled a ‘major incident’ as 19 fire crews from Surrey and Hampshire fought to contain it.

A spokesman for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said on Tuesday morning: “The operation at the site has now been scaled back.

“Only six vehicles remain on patrol to dampen down hot spots and prevent the fire from reigniting.

“Road closures are no longer in place and the Woolfords Lane residents have now moved back in to their homes.”

At its height, smoke from the fire could be seen at nearby Frensham Ponds and by residents in Guildford and Farnham, just four miles away.

People also reported seeing smoke over Woking and Addlestone and on the M25 near Chertsey.

Flying instructor Jordan Bridge said the blaze was one of the largest he has seen in the area.

The 24-year-old from Alton said at about lunchtime he saw “huge smoke clouds building to the east of Lasham Airfield” where he works.

The MoD-owned common near Elstead is also part of the Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Commons Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The fire service has asked that, while the dry spell continues, to “pack a picnic instead of a barbecue and dispose of cigarettes and litter correctly.”