- 11 Aug 20
In an Instagram post, May said: "I never imagined it could happen here in leafy, and normally damp, Surrey, England."
Queen guitarist Brian May has offered his thanks to the emergency services team who prevented a wildfire from engulfing his Surrey home and music studio.
Crews battled the blaze on the national nature reserve at Chobham Common since Friday, with Surrey County Council confirming the situation has since been stabilised.
A huge plume of smoke was seen rising from the land and multiple crews from Surrey Fire and Rescue were dispatched to tackle the blaze over the weekend, which is estimated to have burned around 85 hectares.
May posted to his followers on Instagram to say the area was "still smouldering less than a mile from my own house and studio, and the fond relics of my entire life".
"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."
"Today we 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," May continued.
"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 musician also mentioned the lack of supports for emergency services as a result of budget cuts.
"Perhaps even more shocking was learning today that this wonderful force, which is alert 24 hours a day to protect us all, has become tragically under-supported in recent years.
"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," he added.
"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."
Surrey Wildlife Trust said the fire began on Sunningdale golf course and spread to the common as a result of strong winds.
The heathland is home to specialist reptiles, protected ground nesting birds and thousands of species of insects, and is regarded as "rarer than tropical rainforest".
Read Brian May's full post on the wildfire below: