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VIDEO: Fire crews battle wildfires as they spring up all over the north-east in a weekend of drama

The north and north-east burned at the weekend as emergency services tackled a series of serious wildfires.

Swathes of countryside were consumed by flame as the blazes took hold in Moray, Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.

The most serious broke out near Portgordon, where a vicious blaze endangered at least one home and threatened the nearby Buckpool golf course.

Fire crews battled the blaze for much of Saturday, with a huge pall of smoke visible for miles around.

Around 50 fire fighters made their way to the scene, just after 4pm on Saturday, as miles of tinder-dry gorse caught alight.

Many were still working on Sunday when the blaze rekindled and made a second assault on the golf course and threatened the 15th green.

Elsewhere, there were fierce flames for fire crews to tackle close to the A9 at Slochd on Saturday.

Two appliances from Inverness and a specialist wildfire unit joined colleagues from Aviemore shortly after 2.20 and spent four hours bringing the flames under control.

Rail authorities had to be warned of the fire amidst fears – eventually unfounded – that it might spread to the line.

Multiple crews were back at the Slochd on Sunday to dampen down the scene of the fire and the surrounding area to prevent it from reigniting.

Wildfires were also doused at Daviot in Aberdeenshire and at Boat of Garten on Saturday afternoon, where crews managed to get the fires under control in less than two hours.

A further wildfire was extinguished swiftly by Inverness crews at Dores beach, where an area of grass and gorse ignited.

Speaking last night, captain of the Buckpool Golf Club, John Riddoch, praised the hard work and efforts of the fire teams.

Nonetheless, he admitted to fears the golf course remained under serious threat.

He said: “We ended up closing the course on Saturday, though only after some people had finished off their competition rounds.

“Yesterday the wind was blowing out to sea but now it has changed direction and is blowing the flames towards the course.

“This new fire is slowly creeping onto the 15th hole and onto the fairway. I hope they can get it under control.”

The weekend fires came in the midst of days of ultimately prescient wildfire warnings issued by the fire service. They remain in place until Tuesday.

Assistant Chief Officer David McGown is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service director of prevention and protection and yesterday he said his teams would be working closely with the police to identify any deliberate fire raising.

He said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has a very clear, zero tolerance approach to deliberate fire raising because it puts our communities at great risk.

“It presents a danger to life, property and the environment – not to mention the potential impact on businesses which are important to the economy.

“We will continue to work very closely with our police and local authority partners to ensure that those responsible are identified and dealt with accordingly.”

The fires came in the wake of warnings that tinder-dry conditions were affected large parts of the north and north east.

In recent weeks there have been multiple wildfires on the west coast and at Hopeman – from where the smoke from Portgordon could be seen at the weekend.

Parts of Moray are so dry that earlier this month Scottish water was forced to urge residents to conserve water, with signs reservoirs were running dry.

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