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Wildfire 'shaping up to be one of the biggest in years'

Firefighters have been battling the blaze in Moray since Monday afternoon.

Battle: 80 firefighters have been working to contain the fire.
Battle: 80 firefighters have been working to contain the fire. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters continue to battle one of the biggest wildfires seen in the UK for years.

Crews were initially sent out to the blaze which started at a wind farm near Aberlour, Moray, on Monday afternoon.

Since then, dry conditions and high winds have caused the fire to spread aggressively across 50 square km (19 square miles) of gorse, grass and woodland.

At the fire's height, around 80 firefighters and multiple specialist appliances were deployed to tackle the flames. Local estate workers have also assisted in the efforts.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service area manager Bruce Farquharson was incident commander and is now overseeing the incident from Operations Control.

He said: "This is shaping up to be one of the largest wildfires that the UK has seen in years.

"The conditions, including the weather, the terrain and the sheer scale of the incident have made it very challenging.

"This type of incident requires a large amount of resources, and we have called upon the resilience of our national service to tackle it.

"Additionally, we have received additional support from our partners - which includes two helicopters which have been working alongside our crews to tackle the fire in difficult to reach areas."

Turbines: The fire started near a wind farm.
Turbines: The fire started near a wind farm. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Several properties close to the fire have been evacuated as a precaution and the fire has created a large smoke plume which can be seen from as far as 20 miles away.

Mr Farquharson added: "We are advising people who live in the path of the smoke to keep their windows and doors closed as a precautionary measure.

"Additionally, many roads in the area remain closed and we are asking people to avoid the area for their own safety, and to allow full access for the emergency services."

He continued: "We will remain on scene for several days yet.

"Our crews continue to work hard and in challenging conditions to contain and extinguish the fire, and they must be commended for their efforts."

Smoke:: Aerial image shows the extent of the wildfire.
Smoke:: Aerial image shows the extent of the wildfire. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

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