Updated: Fire crews waiting for lower tide to tackle Gugh fire
A gorse fire has broken out on Gugh but St Agnes fire crews are currently unable to reach it due to the weather.
Smoke coming from Gugh. Photo by Lisa Williams
The presence of smoke has caused some confusion among residents of the islands, which are currently being battered by the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia.
PCSO Shirley Graham posted on social media: "Just to reassure all, the smoke around the Islands at the moment is due to a gorse fire on Gugh. All the relevant services are aware & dealing. Thank you."
Fire Station Manager Declan Ridsdale wrote at around 3.40pm: "Just back in from checking the state of play at St Agnes. Our teams from St Agnes will be crossing to Gugh when the tide drops at around 17.15, at which point they will be able to investigate the extent of the fire with a view to how best it should be tackled.
"Obviously due to the high winds and rough seas, efforts to gain access to Gugh must be measured. There is no-one currently living on Gugh and the fire is on the south east end of the Island with the wind blowing away from the property. As soon as we have any useful information I shall pass it on."
The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust posted on its website on October 17:
The fire on Gugh, which started yesterday, is currently still smouldering in the vegetation and the local Fire Crews are in attendance. Our Ranger Team are working closely with the Fire Crews to ensure that the two properties on the Island (which are vacant and will remain so) are as well protected as they can be; additional firebreaks are being cut and hoses and pumps have been taken across to the Island should they be required.
The Ranger Team were carrying out scrub clearance clearance (invasive non-native pittosporum removal from the heathland and gorse removal from the paths for public access) on Gugh, last week, and had one fire to dispose of the debris; correct procedure was followed and the Fire Brigade were, as always, aware that a controlled burn had taken place.
Unfortunately, the subsequent fire on Gugh appears to have originated from this fire site, a few metres away and some 72 hours later, as a result of the extreme weather conditions which faced the Islands yesterday. This is highly unusual and upsetting given the attention to detail that goes into the planning and execution of work carried out by our Ranger Team across the Islands.
The situation will continue to be monitored by both the Fire Crews and our Ranger Team.