QUEEN's Brian May has thanked firefighters for combatting a forest fire which threatened his home over the weekend.
The legendary guitarist took to Instagram yesterday to say that he was forced to evacuate his home and studio property after the wildfire broke out and spread less than a mile from his house on the Sunningdale Golf Course.
The 73-year-old wrote: "I never imagined it could happen here in leafy, and normally damp, Surrey, England.
"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.
"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."
Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) said the wildfire began on Sunningdale Golf Course and, due to strong winds, spread to Chobham Common, destroying 74 acres of rare and precious lowland heathland and wildlife habitat on the common.
According to the BBC, the cause of the fire is not yet known, but Surrey County Council has urged people not to light bonfires or use disposable BBQs in the countryside.
Assistant chief fire officer Kasey Beal said: "As of the afternoon of Monday, August 10. The fire remains at approximately 500 acres and is contained.
"However, the fire does remain active in isolated areas, especially along the roadways within the Common and in pockets, well within containment lines.
"Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is being assisted by neighbouring agencies during this declared major incident as we proceed into our fourth day.
"High temperatures and the potential for thunderstorms are driving the need for our crews to maintain a presence both day and night for the remainder of the week."
View this post on Instagram
FIREFIGHT in SURREY. I never imagined it could happen here in leafy, and normally damp, Surrey, England. 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 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. Today Se 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. 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 undersupporyed 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. 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. THANK YOU, firefighters of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, and the maintenance team of Sunningdale Golf - for saving all our skins. And thanks Callum and Emily, George, and the nice man from Barcelona for giving us a backstage tour today. Incredible. Photo of Bri and Anne by Callum Strachan. Swipe for stereo views showing the still smoking edges of the huge area of destruction. Bri
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