Lifeboat ferries fire crews to tackle Scalpay blaze

A wildfire on the island of Scalpay off Skye’s south-east coast this week saw firefighters mobilised using a local lifeboat.

The fire was reported at 1.30pm on Tuesday and firefighters from Broadford, Kyle and Lochcarron responded. However, to get the crews to the island the Kyle RNLI lifeboat and residents who operate a boat service to take guests to the island were called upon.

Sixteen firefighters and Kyle station manager Alistair Jupp loaded most of their equipment on to one of the boats while the vast majority of the firefighters were ferried over by the Kyle Lifeboat. Firefighters used  beaters and knapsack sprayers to fight the blaze, which is believed to have been caused by the spread of an initially controlled fire.

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The blaze required 17 firefighters to be transported to the island

Kyle’s Lifeboat was launched once again at 6.20pm to transfer the firefighters off the island.
Station manager Jupp said: “This incident required a fair bit of forward planning as we knew things such as bottles of water would be in short supply on the island. We also had to make sure we maintained communication between Scaplay and Skye and that we travelled as light as possible, taking a small portable pump and beaters.

“When we got there the fire was well-developed and was smouldering in the gorse areas. The crews did a fantastic job to contain the fire in one area and after some hard work brought it under control.”
He added: “Around three to four acres were destroyed by the fire, including new plantation and established trees, but the work of our crews undoubtedly prevented far greater damage.”