A serious grass fire believed to have started as a bonfire broke out in Leurbost with four fire engines and multiple firefighters at the scene at midday today (Thursday May 7).
The fire is believed to have started to the east of Leurbost Community Centre and has spread behind the centre. A firefighter at the scene explained that the fire had jumped from one place to another.
A witness at the scene described how the fire had potentially endangered 10 houses, with the three or four closest to it likely to have been damaged were it not for the swift actions of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. The enormous plume of smoke from the blaze could be clearly seen from as far away as Plasterfield.
Tinder-dry grass on the common grazings was well alight by 11am, when a brisk wind changed direction and blew the flames towards homes near North Lochs community centre, according to another eye-witness.
The onlooker said that the swirling wind took the flames within just a few metres of one house. Residents had already left their homes as the fire escalated.
Fire crews played jets of water on the gardens, driving the flames back from the properties and preventing any damage.
The fire later began to spread east towards Campbell Place, where a line of firefighters used beaters to extinguish leaping sparks which threatened to set new areas of the heather alight.
There has been no injury or damage to property and there are currently no animals on the grazings in that area, but grass and heather are in danger of catching quickly as firefighters remain to ensure that all the flames have been extinguished. The blaze has now been put out.
Pictures show smoke engulfing homes in Leurbost and seen from a distance, and the scene now, below (local residents).