A series of major forest fires that are on-going near Golspie in Sutherland, are in close proximity to overhead power lines that supply the entire far north of Scotland. Some power lines have already been scorched and more may follow.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) responded to a call at 12.04am on Saturday morning to reports of a section of forest on fire at Ben Bhraggie by Golspie in Sutherland. It soon became clear that the incident was serious in nature and more crews were called in.
Fire crews from across the north of Scotland responded, and began to fight several well established fires in the area. One of stations sent was from the seaboard village of Balintore in Ross-Shire.
Their tweet, (below), highlights the fact that the power network to everywhere north of Golspie is being threatened by the flames.
Crew paged at 00:14 this morning to a wildfire in forestry above Golspie. A long and challenging shift with the main power lines for the far north of Scotland being engulfed by the smoke and flames. Great work by all involved in keeping everyone safe and well #wearesfrs pic.twitter.com/9uuua0UEHD
— Balintore Fire Station (@Balintore_Fire) July 7, 2018
Throughout the day more than thirty firefighters from across the Highlands and Moray battled to stop the fire from spreading. Equipment including water bowsers and specialist 4×4 fire vehicles were dispatched to the scene to assist.
Also assisting, were officers from Police Scotland and staff from The Scottish Ambulance Service.
The plumes of smoke could be seen from as far away as Tain, which is over 10 miles away and many people shared pictures across social media of the incident.
By the early morning Police Scotland were advising that road closures would be in place, and to avoid the area near the Duke of Sutherland Monument on Ben Bhraggie.
Power Network At Risk
The fires happen to be burning directly where the National Grids overhead power lines that carry power to the far north of Scotland are located. As you can see from the photos taken by crews from Balintore Fire Station. there are flames rising directly below the power lines.
The Local Senior Officer for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that engineers from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) were on scene throughout the day to help keep firefighters and estate staff fighting the fire save.
It is not known what damage has occurred to the power lines at this time but reports are that some have been scorched and may need repaired.
Community Spirit Shines
The community spirit of the small village of Golspie has been amazing. Many local businesses have opened their doors for free, to support everyone involved in the operation.
The local fish and chip shop; The Trawler, is giving out free meals to all emergency service personnel involved to help keep them fuelled for what must be an extremely arduous task.
Area of fires adds to task
The location of some of the fires is high in the hills and only accessible by foot in many cases. Firefighters carrying beaters and knapsack sprayers: (a backpack with water and a manual sprayer), are crossing some extremely difficult terrain to try and keep the fires contained.
The recent spell of hot weather which no doubt is contributing to the forest being so dry, will be making an already hard task, harder for firefighters. They will need to ensure that they are taking on plenty of fluids to keep themselves safe from the effects of dehydration.
It is not known how long the fires will burn with the senior fire officer saying late on Saturday; that the fire is expected to burn thought the night and into Sunday at least.
I take my hat off to the brave and hard working people from our emergency services who put themselves in harms way to protect people and property. We can only hope for a quick resolution to this incident and that everyone involved remains safe.
Should any new developments occur I will keep you updated.
Alex Tiffin – @RespectIsVital on Twitter
For more photos and information on the incident, I recommend visiting Balintore Fire Station’s Twitter page which you can go to directly by clicking here.
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