Highlands & Islands

Fire crews tackle moorland blaze

Fire crews are battling a large blaze on woodland, gorse and moorland outside Inverness.

The fire is on land near Milton of Leys and Daviot, close to the A9, about 5 miles (8km) south of the city.

The firefront stretched for 1.2 miles and was fanned by high winds. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Highland Fire and Rescue said houses around the Tomfat Woods were not yet at risk but they were monitoring the situation.

A spokeswoman said they had received hundreds of calls from the occupants of housing estates .

'Dried-out gorse'

Three pumps and an all-terrain vehicle were being used to tackle the fire overnight.

Recent high winds are believed to have dried out the gorse and woodland and there is a risk that this will make it easier for the fire to spread.

A Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "The fire which quickly spread eastwards due to high winds and dry conditions is now burning South of the Milton of Leys area of Inverness, where residents are being advised to close their doors and windows to avoid drifting smoke.

"An area of the A9 to the south of Inverness is also affected by drifting smoke but at present this is not causing any significant hazard.

"The cause of the fire is unknown and will be fully investigated in due course, but at this time police and fire officers in the Highlands are reminding everyone to be mindful of the risks of starting fires in the current dry conditions."

Northern Constabulary was also monitoring the situation, the spokesman added.

BBC news website reporter Steven McKenzie said on Wednesday evening the fire above Milton of Leys was visible from all over Inverness.

He said: "It is really windy. The flames are rising 20ft in the air.

"We got to about a mile away and you can see the flames clearly."