Brian May slams UK government for cutting public services after forest fire forces him to flee home

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Queen guitarist Brian May has criticised the UK government for cutting funding for public services after a forest fire forced him to evacuate his Surrey home.

The rock legend and his wife, actress Anita Dobson, left their home after firefighters worked to contain a huge fire on Chobham Common on Saturday (8 August).

The 73-year-old posted images from the aftermath of the fire on his Instagram account on Monday, 10 August.

Captioning the images, May wrote: “FIREFIGHT in SURREY. I never imagined it could happen here in leafy, and normally damp, Surrey, England.

(L to R) Queen band member Brian May attends a press conference ahead of the Rhapsody Tour at a hotel in Seoul on January 16, 2020. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHUNG SUNG-JUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Brian May at a press conference ahead of the Rhapsody Tour at a hotel in Seoul on January 16, 2020. (Photo by CHUNG SUNG-JUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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“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.

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“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.”

Queen the rock band Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon seen here in New Orleans, USA, where they are rehearsing for their forthcoming tour of South America. 21st September 1981.  (Photo by Gavin Kent/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon of Queen in New Orleans, USA, 21st September 1981. (Photo by Gavin Kent/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

He went on to say while the fire was brought under control, the current dry and warm weather means there is still “a massive risk” of more blazes.

He also criticised the government’s lack of funding for public services such the fire service and the NHS.

He added: “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 [sic] in recent years.

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“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.”

The post, shared with May’s 2.5millions followers, led to a host of fans agreeing with the star and urging him to stay safe.

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