COUNTY NEWS: Zoo evacuated as serious fire rages near A27

A zoo has been evacuated as firefighters continue to tackle a blaze near the A27 this afternoon.

More than 1,500 people have been evacuated from Drusillas Zoo Park near Alfriston, East Sussex, after the blaze began on land at Berwick Court Farm on Alfriston Road, which runs from Drusillas roundabout to the village.

Crews from Eastbourne, Seaford and Lewes as well as a water bowser from Burgess Hill are at the scene in Alfriston Road, Berwick.

Police and the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are urging people to avoid the area as firefighters from across the county and neighbouring West Sussex tackle the fire.

A spokesman at the fire service said the alarm was raised at 2.54pm.

They added: “Currently six fire appliances are at the scene, with four Landrovers, one water bowser and a Support Command Unit.”

Fire near Drusillas. Photo by Kirsty Eaton SUS-180725-161633001

Fire near Drusillas. Photo by Kirsty Eaton SUS-180725-161633001

According to reports, long traffic queues have built up on the A27 heading towards Eastbourne, with queues back to the Amex Stadium at Falmer.

People living nearby are also being urged to keep their windows and doors closed, and drivers are being told not to pull over to take photographs or videos.

According to BBC Sussex, Drusillas confirmed that the animals are all currently safe.

This comes as the current heatwave continues, with temperatures expected to hit 37 degrees in the east of the country on Friday.

A fire service spokesman said the fire was believed to be put out just before 6pm, with damping down of the field in progress. This is set to continue for ‘a considerable amount of time’, to ensure the field does not realight, the spokesman said.

Photo by Kirsty Eaton.

Video by Dan Jessup.

• Read our story about the fire on the Downs at the weekend here