Highlands & Islands

Crews' fifth full day fighting wildfire in Sutherland

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Media captionThe wildfire has been burning for days

Firefighters continue to battle a wildfire that has burned across thousands of acres of moorland since Sunday night.

Nine Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) units are at the scene between Melvich and Strathy in Sutherland.

The number of units had been reduced to three on Thursday, but four were in attendance overnight.

Helicopters have been used to water bomb flames burning in "tinder dry" heather and grass and dry peatland.

Fire crews have also been fighting a major wildfire in heather and woodland in Moray.

Image copyright Alex McKinley/SFRS
Image caption The wildfire has burned across 'tinder dry' moor and peatland
Image copyright Thurso Fire Station
Image caption A helicopter has been water bombing the fire in an effort to help firefighters extinguish the wildfire

At one point the blaze in Sutherland affected electricity supplies to 800 homes, and threatened to spread through RSPB Scotland's Forsinard Reserve.

Joyce Campbell, a hill farmer who lives about three miles (5km) from the fire, said it was one of the biggest wildfires she had ever seen in the area.

She told BBC Radio Scotland's John Beattie programme: "It is absolutely devastating for the wildlife and the great habitats that we have.

"We are having much drier springs and the ground out there is tinder dry. You can crunch with your hand the grass and the heather and the moss."

The fire fighting effort has involved RSPB Scotland staff, gamekeepers from the Bighouse and Strathmore estates and helicopters from Argyll-based SkyHook Helicopters.

The helicopter firm is also involved in fighting the wildfire in Moray.

Image copyright SkyHook Helicopters
Image caption The wildfire has burned across thousands of acres in north Sutherland

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