Apocalyptic Scenes On UK Island Where Scientists Experimented With Anthrax
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Scotland's Gruinard Island has gone up in the flames, with eyewitnesses describing the blaze as 'apocalyptic'.
The uninhabited island was formerly used during World War Two for germ warfare amid fears of the Nazis having developed a biological bomb.
It became known as 'Anthrax island' because of the contamination from the bacteria. The bacteria, known as Bacillus anthracis, spreads an infectious disease that can prove fatal, particularly if inhaled.
The island - located off the north-west coast of Scotland - has since gone up in smoke from 'one end to the other,' as a result of a fire which first began on the evening of 26 March.
At around 8:30pm on Saturday, smoke could be smelt five miles away in Aultbea where Kate Gearing and her daughter Nessie live.
Having taken images of the blaze after driving to the coast, Nessie told STV News: "There was a string of flames around the whole circumference of the island.
"We could hear birds crying, screaming, and then suddenly there was silence - but the flames went on, it was awful."
The 25-year-old said the blaze looked like a 'hell fire'.
Porton Down previously tried to remove all anthrax spores from the island by setting it alight.
However, the spores appeared 'surprisingly resistant to degradation' when the soil was checked by experts.
In 1986, in a bid to return Gruinard to its condition pre WW2, the island was continuously treated with seawater and formaldehyde and tested by a team of scientists.
While the island was eventually declared free of Anthrax in 1990, it has remained uninhabited ever since.
"The island is pretty black now. There's just a few trees left standing, along the shoreline.
"I'm just hoping there aren't any anthrax spores left around anywhere," Kate reflected.
However, the retired GP explained that the island is far enough away from the shore that it shouldn't pose a threat to the mainland.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service warned that the risk of wildfires was 'very high' earlier this week.
However, it stated that because Gruinard Island is uninhabited, the area 'would not fall under [its] remit'.
Areas in the north-east, central and southern Scotland are potentially said to being subject to wildfires, with The Times having reported that blazes have also broken out near Ben Lomond and Lewis.