Chris and I are part of the retained fire brigade in the Highlands and Islands and this week we joined fire crews extinguishing the hill fire on Liathach. It started on Saturday afternoon and lasted until Tuesday evening. During that time the Fire Brigade had five appliances on site as well as a helicopter on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning.
On Saturday afternoon, the blaze threatened the village of Torridon but by the time we were relieved later that night, it looked as if it would miss the houses. It was a short reprieve. At 2am we were called back as the fire had dropped down the hill and threatened the village again. After a few hours of pumping water and beating the hillside, we managed to get the fire directed around the village. That night the hill had three fire fronts on it, making it look like a volcano erupting. After that it was a mixture of trying to put the fire out and making sure it didn’t hit any houses or power cables.
On Sunday the helicopter arrived and gave us a huge boost, being able to shift more water and start to get the fire under control. And with the combination of the fire brigade and helicopter we were able to put the fire out.
The damage that has been done to the hill and the wildlife is incredible. The top of Liathach is black at the moment and there is a tide line where the fire burned down to but got no further.
Chris and I are grateful to Dan who let two of his instructors go fire-fighting over a busy bank holiday weekend as well as feeding the fire brigade crews as and when they arrived for breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with gallons of drinking water (and other non-alcoholic drinks) and take away meals.