Sawmill fire in the Highlands

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More than 20 firefighters battle Nairn blaze.

 GFRS Training Fire 019

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews battled a blaze at a sawmill in Nairn on Thursday 19 September.

Operations Control in Inverness received multiple calls reporting a fire within the timber processing site on Balbair Road around 6:45pm and immediately mobilised two appliances from Nairn Fire Station.

Firefighters called for additional resources and two further appliances, a high-reach vehicle and a water bowser were sent from Inverness – taking the number of SFRS personnel on scene to more than 20.

Group Manager Phil Green, the senior SFRS officer at the incident, said: “This was a substantial fire and both the retained and wholetime crews worked extremely well to ensure the incident was brought to a safe conclusion.

“Firefighters from Nairn arrived to find the fire was already well-developed and they immediately began work to bring the flames under control.

“Additional resources were sent from Inverness, including a high-reach appliance that was used to allow officers to view the whole scene and determine the safest and most effective way to fight the fire.  

“The building’s roof was unstable and the presence of underfloor hydraulic piping meant the best course of action was to operate externally.

“A ground monitor and three further main water jets were used to extinguish the flames from outside the premises.”

The fire was successfully extinguished and the incident was brought to a conclusion around 9pm. It is not being treated as suspicious.

Many of Scotland’s communities are protected by firefighters who hold other employment but also provide their towns and villages with professional fire and rescue cover.

Known as the retained duty system, the dedicated men and woman come from all walks of life and undertake regular training to develop and maintain the specialist skills needed in the modern firefighter.

In return for their commitment they receive a retainer fee with additional payments for incidents and training nights attended, but for many providing their communities with a vital emergency service is its own reward.

Various contracts are available and applications should be submitted online via