Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Wildfires in NW Scotland - Request to stop Muirburn

Photo: Karen Appleyard
The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service has issued a request for all land managers (crofters, farmers, gamekeepers & stalkers) in NW Scotland to stop all muirburn activities in response to the continuing spate of wildfires.

It is inconceivable that anyone in this area where conditions are so dry should be considering muirburn, as it is clear that any fire once established will be difficult, if not impossible, to control.  However, this does not mean that muirburn cannot be carried out in other parts of Scotland, especially where snow is still lying, but great care must be exercised; conditions can be deceptively dry even in between beds of snow.

The Fire Service is at full stretch fighting the existing wildfires in NW Scotland, and no-one should consider adding to the workload of permanent and part-time crews.  It will be difficult for the Fire Service to maintain this level of activity and with the weather set to remain the same until early next week, there are concerns about how the Service will cope.

As an example of the scale of the problem, I spoke to a senior fire officer this evening, who told me that one of the fires had a front that extended over 8km, it was being attacked by two helicopters with water bombing equipment and numerous fire engines had been deployed to protect property.

This evening the Fire Service reported that in the Highlands & Islands area, fire crews had attended almost 200 wildfire incidents during the last week and there were 6 large wildfire incidents in progress:

Braeintra/Achmore
  • Nine appliances were in attendance dealing with a significant wildfire incidents and were being assisted by a helicopter. 
Tornapress/Kishorn
  • Four appliances were attendance with assistance from a helicopter. 
Glenfinnan
  • Four appliances were dealing with this wildfire incident. 
Ty-Coat, Kinlochmoidart
  • Two appliances were in attendance. 
Invergarry
  • One appliance was in attendance. 
Stratton Lodge Area
  • One appliance was in attendance.

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