A huge fire has erupted on Bournemouth beach, scattering the crowds of sun-seekers.
Unconfirmed witness accounts suggest a burning beach hut sparked the blaze.
Dramatic pictures show an inferno ripping down the tree-covered cliff face while plumes of thick black smoke billow upwards.
Emergency services have reportedly scrambled to the area between Bournemouth Pier and Branksome beach, where sun bathers have been evacuated.
The seaside town is one of the most popular coastal spots in the country and today drew hundreds of people.
A huge fire has erupted on Bournemouth beach, where crowds of sun-seekers are enjoying the warm weather
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.’
This is a breaking news story. More to follow…
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