Crews worked through the night to tackle wildfire near Fort Augustus

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Between 200 and 400 hectares of heather and gorse was destroyed in the fire

Wildfire

Firefighters prevented a fire, which destroyed between 200 and 400 hectares of heather and gorse, from reaching properties in the Fort Augustus area last night (22 April 2015).

Scottish Fire and Rescue were called to respond to a fire at Loch Unigan Hill, south of Fort Augustus at 7.45pm yesterday.

Appliances from Fort Augustus, Drumnadrochit, Foyers, Spean Bridge and Cannich were involved in the firefighting operation.

Crews used knapsack sprayers, fire beaters and a hose reel jet to tackle two fire fronts on the hill, which came within 50m of one property and was also close to a water tank. Easterly winds were making conditions difficult and fanning the flames.

Fort Augustus Watch Manager Alistair MacKinnon said: “The crews did very well in difficult conditions and managed to keep the fire away from one property, thus providing reassurance to the residents.

“We also had a covering jet on a water tank to protect it from the fire. There was a plantation down one side of the hill about half a mile away, but we managed to get the fire under control and prevent it spreading there.”

The fire had been extinguished by 5.30am this morning (23 April 2015) and crews were still at the scene checking for hot spots until after 7am.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the Scottish Wildfire Forum are urging tourists and communities to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire and help reduce the number of wildfires by thinking about their actions whilst within rural environment.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has attended a number of wildfire incidents in the north this year already and are often assisted by land managers, who provide specialist firefighting equipment (including fogging units and all-terrain vehicles) and pay for helicopter support where appropriate.

It is the time of year when the risk of wildfire is at its highest and SFRS is already working closely with land managers and appealing to tourists and communities to help reduce the number fires in a bid to protect the countryside and its residents.

The demand on SFRS and land manager resources during wildfire season can be significant and it is hoped that raised awareness will help reduce that demand.

SFRS and SWF are reminding the public to be extra careful during this period of heightened risk and not to carelessly dispose of smoking materials, ensure BBQs are properly extinguished and try to avoid setting campfires.

The public are urged to call 999 if they see what they believe to be a wildfire with no obvious signs of people managing it.

Further information about what you can do to prevent wildfires is available on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website www.firescotland.gov.uk

 

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