Fire crews on standby as 'unprecedented' wildfires burn in Highlands

Significant fire in the hills north of Gairloch under watch to ensure no properties are put at risk.

Hill fire Above Corpach and Banavie, Fort William.
 
Pictures by Mike Conway, Fort William, 7.30pm Monday 1st april 2013.
Mike Conway

A helicopter has been deployed and fire crews remain on standby to guard properties as wildfires continue in the Scottish Highlands.

Crews are holding a watching brief over a significant fire in the hills north of Gairloch, on the north-west coast, to ensure no properties are at risk.

A helicopter was deployed on Tuesday afternoon to help crews with a second significant fire in Kishorn, just north of the Isle of Skye, and five fire engines were sent to prevent a fire spreading to a forest near Achmore.

Smaller wildfires are still burning in Golspie, in the far north of Scotland, and on the Western Isles and Skye.

A large fire near Fort William, which local MP Charles Kennedy described as "unprecedented", has been extinguished.

Fires in Morar, near Mallaig, and in Glenfinnan and Lochinver have also been brought under control.

A fire service spokesman said: "Whilst much of the country has been affected by wintry conditions, the west coast of the Highlands, Skye and the Western Isles have experienced cold but unseasonably dry conditions which have been a factor in the number of wildfire incidents.

"Operational crews continue to work tirelessly under arduous conditions to bring these wildfires under control and ensure the safety of the local communities.

"This is testament to the commitment and professionalism of all staff of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in the Highland and Island areas, as well as ongoing support from landowners and members of the local communities.

"A significant number of appliance movements have been required to attend these incidents, support crews and ensure regular relief is given to those fighting fires, which has been managed exceptionally by operations control in Inverness.

"We would again like to thank local employers who have released our retained and community response crew members to deal with the incidents and maintain the safety of our local communities."

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