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Fire Update

Volunteers leave the wood as fire sweeps across the neighbouring hillside

Posted: Monday 28 April, 2008

Last Thursday 24th April, whilst we had a substantial working party busy preparing for our annual primrose walk a fire swept across the neighbouring hillside and caught the South East corner of the wood and quickly spread through the perimeter trees.

At one point the entire wood was under threat as the wind picked up, shifting slightly making the situation even worse.

Horses and livestock nearby were moved to safety and owners of houses in the close proximity prepared to abandon their property getting as many valuables and important documents in their cars ready for a quick escape.

By this time at approximately 1pm five fire appliances had arrived on the scene, one police car and an ambulance. Blazing clumps could be clearly seen from the car park and the smoke at swept out as far as the Summer Isles.

Our priority at this stage was to make sure no personnel had been left in the wood and to prevent anyone else entering.

Fortunately when we thought all would be lost there was a heavy downpour which lasted for about ten minutes, at which time the wind dropped and the progress of the fire halted. Once it was safe to do so the Fire Services went in using portable pumps and drenched the areas they could access working late into the night.

We are still assessing the full amount of damage obviously areas of the new fencing have been affected and the full extent of tree damage will not be known for some time as trees which have been caught at the base may die off.

Our thanks go out to the fire service lead by our own Jock Chisholm, until officers John MacDonald and Anthony Gardener arrived who did everything in their power to protect life and property.

The woodland now bears the scars of this fire but we hope it will not prevent people enjoying the experience and hopefully some of the affected areas will recover quickly.

The police are currently investigating how this fire on the neighbouring hillside started.

Regards

JR

John T. Rippin
Chairman
Laide and Aultbea Community Woodland
A Charity registered in Scotland No.SC034434

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