SUNBATHERS scrambled for safety on Bournemouth seafront yesterday as fire engulfed tinder-dry bushes on the cliff above them.
The blaze, started by a cooking mishap in a beach hut, tore up the embankment, throwing 30ft flames into the sky shortly before 4pm.
‘A large segment of the cliff between Bournemouth pier and Branksome beach has caught fire,’ tweeted Ross Millen, of the Bournemouth Echo.
‘Emergency services all on scene and the section of beach nearest the fire has been evacuated.’
Firefighters from across Dorset battled to stop the fire reaching the four-star Highcliff Marriot Hotel with one fire engine driving on to the beach itself to douse the flames.
Officials said the fire had affected ‘three beach huts and approximately 300sq ft of heath’.