Brian May thanks emergency workers after ‘huge and treacherous wild furnace’ almost destroyed his Surrey home – with firefighters set to remain at the scene all week
- The rocker, 73, said the flames came within mile of his multi-million pound home
- May thanked firemen for ‘saving our skins’ after blaze ripped Chobham Common
- Firefighters are expected to remain at the scene of the fire for ‘most of the week’
Queen guitarist Brian May has revealed a ‘huge and treacherous wild furnace’ threatened to destroy his house as he rescued ‘precious things’ from inside.
The legendary rocker, 73, said the flames came within a mile of his multi-million pound mansion and recording studio in Sunningdale, Surrey, over the weekend.
He thanked firefighters for ‘saving our skins’ after the blaze ripped through 140 acres of Chobham Common, dubbed Britain’s ‘Beverly Hills’.
Crews are expected to remain at the scene of the fire for ‘most of the week’ despite making ‘significant progress’ over the last three days.
The legendary rocker (pictured with Save Me Trust CEO Anne Brummer), 73, said the flames came within a mile of his multi-million pound property and recording studio in Sunningdale, Surrey, over the weekend
May thanked firefighters for ‘saving our skins’ after the blaze ripped through 140 acres of Chobham Common, dubbed Britain’s ‘Beverly Hills’
Around 140 acres of Chobham Common, Surrey, went up in flames after the fire broke out on Friday, forcing 100 wealthy residents to flee their homes
May, who is married to ex-EastEnder Anita Dobson and has three children, posted pictures on Instagram of the scorched earth left behind by the vicious wildfire.
He wrote: ‘Firefight in Surrey. I never imagined it could happen here in leafy, and normally damp, Surrey, England.’
The musician said it was ‘shocking and traumatic’ to watch it happen in his own county after devastating fires in Australia and California in the last year.
He continued: ‘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 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.’
He added: ‘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.’
Residents of Britain’s ‘Beverley Hills’ faced a weekend away from their £2million mansions as fire crews battled a wildfire in Chobham Common, Surrey
Firefighters from Surrey, West Sussex, Berkshire and Hampshire rescue services battled a huge wildfire in Surrey after more than 100 people were evacuated from 60 gated properties on Heather Drive on Friday due to plumes of smoke in the air
Surrey Fire and Rescue service said crews made ‘significant progress’ overnight into Sunday as temperatures cooled and are now focusing on ‘damping down and tackling hot spots’
The huge wildfire is thought to have destroyed 150 acres of countryside and Surrey County Council said that a ‘large number of resources remain on the scene’, nearly 48 hours after the fire started
The fire continued to rage into Friday night and sent huge plumes of smoke into the sky that could be seen more than 20 miles away in west London and from tall buildings in central London
The fire broke out on Friday amid blistering temperatures and tore across Chobham Common, forcing 100 super-rich residents to flee their homes.
The inferno raced towards the fringes of Wentworth Golf Course, which saw the Rose Ladies Series event cancelled.
It could even be seen more than 20 miles away in west London and from the towering buildings that litter the capital’s skyline.
Millionaires who live in the area were allowed back to their homes yesterday but firefighters will remain close in the coming days.
A statement last night said: ‘The weather conditions continue to create a situation where the fire could rapidly take hold again and that further evacuations may be required.’
May also ranted about the government in his post, saying it was ‘shocking’ to learn Surrey Fire and Rescue had been ‘tragically undersupported in recent years’.
He wrote: ‘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.’
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service called in reinforcements from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service after declaring the blaze a ‘major incident’
Surrey council have urged members of the public to avoid Chobham Common ‘for their own safety’. The huge wildlife also spread to Wentworth golf course
At the height of the wildfire, it required more than 40 vehicles including fire engines, specialist units and 4x4s, with huge plumes of smoke leading to the evacuation of Heather Drive residents
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service told MailOnline no other properties have so far been evacuated while on Saturday they sent 25 vehicles to tackle the blaze for the second day
Authorities fear another week of blistering heat could allow the fire to take hold again, despite it largely being under control today.
At the height of the blaze more than 40 vehicles including fire engines, specialist units and 4x4s were called into action.
Owners of sixty gated properties were evacuated from their homes on Friday after the huge wildfire swept across the area.
Despite the £2million properties not being under immediate threat, owners were asked to stay away due to plumes of smoke in the air.
They described the huge wildfire as ‘quite something’ and said Heather Drive was a ‘ghost town’.
But the rich residents were yesterday spotted popping back to their million pound properties to collect essentials before heading to stay with friends and family.
Alistair Lines, 64, told MailOnline: ‘Fires in Chobham Common have been quite regular over the years, but I have never seen it so close to the houses.
‘It is only about 100m from the fire to someone’s expensive garden, normally the fires are right over the other side nearing the M3.
‘I was brought up on this road when it was just a three bedroom home but now this road is like millionaires row.
‘I would have been worried last night if I lived in one of these massive houses. The fire is bigger than I’ve ever seen, it’s quite something.
‘I think they’ve got the fire under control, when I drove round there they were all sitting down having a cup of tea. It is like a ghost town around here with everyone being evacuated.’
The grand final of the Rose Ladies Series golf has been suspended after the huge fire encroached on Wentworth Golf Course in Surrey
The fire (pictured) started at around 12.25pm in Chobham Common before spreading to the nearby golf course
Cars had to be turned away yesterday in the main road up to the Common, with a response officer warning drivers the blaze was just ‘300 yards away’.
Before being evacuated, millionaires watched from their windows as the wildfire loomed over them.
Company director Jonathan, 54, told MailOnline: ‘We live on the road that’s been asked to evacuate.
‘I think it will smoulder for quite a few days because it is such a big fire. We aren’t sure how it started, it’s very dry but it could have been anything.
‘We’ve lived here for 15 years and obviously you don’t want million of pounds worth of houses to go up in flames.
‘The fire backs onto our property so we could see it from our windows, it was quite a sight.’
A homeowner rushing back to his home in Onslow Lodge to grab extra clothes before heading to stay at a friends for a second night also told of his experience.
The 50-year-old accountant, who did not want to be named, said: ‘We were asked to leave yesterday but we were allowed to pop back for five minutes to grab some more stuff we are still under evacuation at the moment.
‘The common is just the other side of the railway, we are worried but I am hoping that they have it all under control, there is no property that has been destroyed yet.
‘I think a lot of area has been affected and because the temperature is so hot the risk is that there is still undergrowth smouldering away and then it could quite easily catch again.
‘The police were brilliant, just knocked in our door yesterday afternoon and asked us to gather our stuff and leave.
‘This area is worth a fortune, what I’m hoping is that there is a lot of expensive houses between me and the fire.
‘Wentworth golf club is a two-minute walk away, golfers had to stop play yesterday during a ladies cup because there were flames ravaging in the background. It was pretty spectacular really.’
Ten fire engines have been sent in total, alongside multiple specialist vehicles, with the first arriving at the scene around 12.35pm
Chobham Road is closed between Titlarks Hill Road and the roundabout junction with Windsor Road and Chertsey Road
The blaze could be seen for miles around including from tall buildings in central London
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said it sent 10 fire engines, two water carriers and 10 other vehicles to tackle the blaze
Police vehicles attend the blaze that began on Chobham Common, Surrey, and spread to Wentworth golf course
At the height of the wildfire, it required more than 40 vehicles including fire engines, specialist units and 4x4s.
The flames also spread to Wentworth golf course, halting play in the Rose Ladies Series Grand Final on Friday.
Surrey Fire and Rescue said yesterday it was too early to tell what caused the fire but added ‘the extreme temperatures across the county have no doubt had an impact’.
It also asked people to avoid lighting bonfires or using disposable barbecues to stop any similar incidents.
On Friday, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said an estimated 120 people were evacuated from their homes in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
The fire service said at the time: ‘It is still a significant fire and it is still likely to be going on for some time.
‘[It is] not helped by the heat and the wind direction keeps moving which is causing some trouble.
‘There are around 60 properties that have been evacuated, about 120 people, they are all in Windsor and Maidenhead, Berkshire.’
Griff Ryan, 23, who lives in Sunningdale near to the blaze, said the fire began with a ‘strange light’ at around 1pm before smoke and then later a ‘wall of flames’.
He said: ‘Smoke got gradually worse and ash began falling into our garden. Now standing on Chobham road. At around 5pm fire still wasn’t visible from the road.
‘Over about half an hour it’s become visible and now can see a wall of flames down towards the railway line.’
He added: ‘Other residents I’ve spoken to have said it’s the worst they’ve seen in 30 years.’
Surrey Heath MP and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said he was ‘horrified’ by the damage caused by the fire.
He said: ‘I’m horrified by the damage this wildfire has done to Chobham Common – and hope people will heed this evacuation warning – thanks to Surrey Fire and Rescue service for their bravery in tackling this terrible tragedy.’
Pro golfer Felicity Johnson told Sky News Sports News: ‘I was just on ninth green, the group ahead had teed up and then we could see a lot of smoke.
‘We could see it moving in the distance and it seemed to get closer pretty quickly. We waited five to ten minutes and it was the noise that was pretty scary.
‘We all know how fast fire can travel and then we saw ash landing on our clothes.’
According to Sky Sports News, no one has been injured on the golf club but everyone was asked to leave the West Course.
Rose Ladies Series is a one-off professional women’s tournament, consisting of seven single-day competitions, culminating in a three-day grand final.
Smoke from the fire was visible in London and had earlier been mistakenly thought to be coming from Heathrow airport by some on social media.
Ash assumed to be from the fire was reported to have fallen on homes as far away as Windsor in Berkshire.
Councillor for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said: ‘Ash is now falling in my garden in Windsor. I can only assume from Chobham. It must be a huge fire.’