Thursday, April 10, 2014

Massive wildfire near Glenferness yesterday evening (Weds 10th April)

Press Release from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service:

"Around 40 firefighters and 40 estate workers battled to bring a wildfire under control after flames took hold over four square kilometres of grassland, heather and forestry in the Highlands.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews were mobilised around 4:45pm on Wednesday (9 April) after a 999 call reported a wildfire had crossed a roadway in the Glenferness area of Nairn.
Five fire engines were sent from Grantown, Nairn and Carrbridge in the Highlands along with an all-terrain vehicle from Elgin and a sixth fire engine from Forres in Moray.

Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) Robert Scott, the director of service delivery in the north of Scotland and chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, said: “This was a significant wildfire that took hold over a wide area.
“Teams of firefighters used hand-held beaters, specialist all-terrain vehicles and multiple lines of hose to tackle the fire from several locations across one-and-a-half square miles.

“Our crews worked very closely with staff from seven estates in the area, who also arranged for a helicopter to deploy large volumes of water from the air.
“This incident involved wholetime, retained and community volunteer unit firefighters operating side-by-side with estate workers and demonstrated the strong partnerships that are key to protecting communities throughout the north.”

Land managers work closely with SFRS to tackle fires that occur in and around estates, with the ongoing partnerships also seeing them develop fire plans to reduce the number of wildfires.
Firefighters were called to deal with hundreds of wildfire and grassfire incidents across Scotland last year, placing a significant demand on SFRS resources.  This is something the Scottish Wildfire Forum will be working on to reduce during 2014 and beyond.

ACO Scott added: “There are a number of things land managers can do to help prevent wildfires, including strict adherence to the Muirburn Code, which applies to the controlled burning of heather within the permitted season.
“Members of the public also have a key role to play. Fires can often start through discarded smoking materials or barbeques.
“As the weather starts to improve and we enjoy longer periods of dry weather we would ask that everyone does their part to protect their surroundings from fire.”

“I would like to thank the SFRS fire crews and estate workers for all their efforts in bringing this fire under control and preventing further damage.”
Efforts to extinguish the fire continued throughout the night and into the morning. A single SFRS appliance from Carrbridge remains at the scene as of 10:30am on Thursday (10 April).

Group Manager Garry Burnett, the SFRS wildfire project manager, is determined preventative messages will reach those who live, work and socialise in rural countryside
He said: “This incident is a timely reminder of the heightened risk to rural parts of Scotland at this time of year.

“The overall improvement in weather brings large numbers of people to our beautiful countryside and this, along with increased land management activities, makes wildfire a higher risk.
“We all need to think about preventing fires from starting whenever we are in remote and rural environments.
“Preventing uncontrolled wildfires will not only improve things for our natural environment but significantly reduce the burden on firefighting resources. Most importantly it will benefit public safety.”  "

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