As reported by NME, Brian May has praised fire crews for combatting a forest fire which threatened his Surrey home over the weekend.
The Queen guitarist detailed in a lengthy Instagram post yesterday (August 10) how he was forced to evacuate his home and studio property after the wildfire broke out and spread through Chobham Common on Friday (August 7).
“I never imagined it could happen here in leafy, and normally damp, Surrey, England,” May wrote in a caption to accompany a series of images showing the aftermath of the wildfire. “We supported the fight against the immense fires in Australia, and watched sadly as fires ravaged California, but to see this happen in my own home county has been shocking and traumatic.
“These pictures show [Save Me Trust’s] Anne Brummer and I this afternoon, surveying the forest fire which is still smouldering less than a mile from my own house and studio, and the fond relics of my entire life.”
Surrey County Council said yesterday that the situation has been stabilised, but fire crews will remain at the scene for the rest of the week in case the fire returns.
May continued: “Today Se [sic] were able to begin to thank the amazing firefighters who risked their lives to contain this huge and treacherous wild furnace on the heath land of Sunningdale Golf Course – which actually adjoins my property. Yesterday, I was rescuing as many precious things from my house as was practicable, under threat of the whole thing going up in flames, but praying that the horror would not happen.
“Today my prayers were answered – the fire is under control, but the danger is not over. While this dry heatwave lasts there is still a massive risk of a flare-up leading to disaster.”
May went on to thank the firefighters of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire and called for more funding and support for the force.
“Just as the Government cuts sent the NHS into battle hideously crippled by lack of funding, the same lack of vision has rendered this country vulnerable to fires – with a fire fighting service criminally cut back in manpower and resources,” May wrote. “Something has gone terribly wrong with our leaders’ decision-making process.
“As long as we prioritise short-term economic gains over the lives of our people and the welfare of those who protects us, we will be a nation continually in danger. It becomes more and more clear that a radical rethink is needed.”
Last month, May spoke about his long-rumoured collaboration with Black Sabbath‘s Tony Iommi and said there’s still “a chance” that fans will be able to hear it in the future.