Firefighters spend second night at Ayrshire blaze

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Forest fire at DalmellingtonImage source, Kevin McKnight
Image caption,
The fire at Dalmellington broke out on Saturday evening

Firefighters have spent a second night tackling a large forest fire in East Ayrshire.

The emergency services were alerted to the blaze on a hillside at Loch Doon at about 18:50 on Saturday.

At least five miles of hillside has been affected and the public have been asked to avoid the area.

East Ayrshire Council said overnight that "progress" was being made and that a welfare centre had been opened in the nearby town of Dalmellington.

The fire is burning on open hillside as well as the northern edge of Galloway Forest Park, on ground between Loch Bradan and Loch Doon.

Fire crews have been working in the area with support from Police Scotland and Forestry and Land Scotland.

They are expected to remain at the scene monitoring the site and managing hot spot areas.

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The cause of the outbreak is still under investigation but the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said recent dry weather has heightened the wildfire risk.

A number of other fires broke out over the weekend, including one near Paul's Hill wind farm near Ballindalloch.

SFRS Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay said: "Our crews across Scotland have had a challenging weekend attending numerous incidents.

"Due to the outstanding collaborative working with land owners, The forestry commission and Police Scotland we have been able to ensure the safety of our communities.

"I would like to thank the wider community for their ongoing support, the hard work of our partners, and the crews on the ground for their tireless efforts."

Wildlife enthusiast Colin Roberts told BBC Radio Scotland it is "going to be catastrophic for that area."

He added that many birds will be nesting just now, and "that's all gone".

"Wee voles - a food source for pine martens, birds of prey, foxes - all gone over a vast area", he added.

"It's going to be catastrophic for the valley."