NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Crews called back to scene of major Moray wildfire

Moray fire scene Image copyright Stuart Naylor
Image caption The fire in Moray broke out at the start of the week

Firefighters have been sent back to the scene of a major wildfire in Moray after the blaze reignited.

It was said to have been dealt with by Thursday morning, but about six appliances have returned to the area around Knockando.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has battled several wildfires across the country in the past week.

They included a blaze near Paul's Hill wind farm at Knockando which broke out on Monday.

Crews helped to divert the fire from a building where electricity is routed.

The fire which started on Paul's Hill is currently burning near Berry Burn wind farm.

'Disaster movie scene'

Staff at the site for renewable energy told BBC Scotland it was a "disaster movie-type scene".

They praised firefighters for their efforts in combating the fire which has been described as one of the largest wildfires seen in the UK for years.

Image copyright SFRS
Image caption Firefighters were called out on Monday
Image copyright SFRS
Image caption The fire has affected huge areas of land

It has destroyed more than 20 square miles of grassland.

The Paul's Hill wind farm, which consists of 28 turbines, is operated by Fred Olsen Renewables.

Stuart Naylor, UK operations manager for the company, praised the efforts of firefighters, as well as others who helped, such as gamekeepers.

'Just amazing'

He told the BBC Scotland news website: "Everyone who fought the fire was just amazing.

"I was on the site on Monday - it was a major disaster movie-type scene. It (the fire) came at you at speed.

"The heat and dryness conspired together."

He said the wind turbines themselves were not affected due to having metal bases, and firefighters helped divert any risk to a building where the electricity is routed through.

The wind farm was temporarily depowered as a safety precaution.

Mr Naylor added: "Everyone locally came together with the same goal of stopping the fire.

"Nature areas have been lost, which is of great sadness. But I am glad there was no loss of life."

Image copyright UK National Centre for Earth Observation
Image caption Satellite images showed the large areas impacted by the fire this week

A large wildfire which rapidly spread across five square miles of forestry in Skye has now been extinguished.

Firefighters were first mobilised at 10:55 on Wednesday and worked through the night to contain and extinguish the flames.

At its height, about 40 firefighters and eight fire appliances were in attendance at the incident at Edinbane wind farm near Struan.

Image copyright SFRS
Image caption A major fire on Skye was also tackled

Mike Collier, of SFRS, said: "This incident was a notable example of the incredible speed that wildfires can travel when fanned by the wind in dry conditions."

He added: "I've never seen anything like this in my whole career, to be honest. At one stage the fire began to spread at around 30-40mph, and within two minutes an entire hillside was engulfed."

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has been on wildfire alert because of "tinder dry" conditions.

It said on Twitter: "We encourage everyone who is enjoying the countryside during this period of extreme danger to exercise caution and be aware of how easily fires can start - and spread."

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