Firefighters found themselves battling a blaze on two fronts yesterday afternoon (Thursday 30 April) when a garage caught light in New Tolsta.

Numerous emergency calls from residents alerted Scottish Fire and Rescue Services in Stornoway to the developing emergency at 3.15pm, when two appliances from Stornoway were immediately despatched to the scene at speed.

The crews found that a garage containing vehicles and flammable materials, including LPG gas canisters, was well alight and that the blaze had ignited grass and heather, spreading towards hedgerow and moorland.

A third crew were called from Shawbost and Stornoway police also attended to ensure safety at the scene and to maintain road access. A crew from Scottish and Southern Electricity monitored the safety of the electricity supply, which was threatened by the spread of the inferno.

Western Isles group manager Gavin Hammond said: “At the height of the incident we had 15 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and one duty officer on-scene, fighting a large and dangerous fire on two fronts.

“The extent of the blaze reached 400 metres in each direction and there were significant risks – of building collapse, from hazardous materials in the garage and because heather had caught light, leaving danger of further spread.

“Our crews were on-scene until 7pm fighting defensively with main jets to contain the risk. It was a challenging incident which crews effectively dealt with and ensured the safety of all residents.”

The cause of the blaze has yet to be established. Fire Scotland continues to warn of the real risks posed by the current dry, breezy weather, which means that barbecues, bonfires and any other outdoor burning could get out of control.