The owners of a north-east estate have urged picnickers and other visitors to be responsible after an “out of control fire” destroyed a woodland.
Firefighters spent more than six hours battling the blaze at Dunecht Estate on Tuesday afternoon, saving an area of conservation woodland and a nearby farm.
However, 2.5 acres of woodland was destroyed by the blaze which is believed to have been sparked by an unattended barbecue.
Estate managers have condemned the careless act and have told people to “exercise your right to access” responsibly.
In a social post, which includes pictures of the emergency response, the estate said: We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to please exercise your right of access responsibly and urge people to avoid using any type of fire (BBQ or campfire) in wild areas during these dry weather conditions and never light a fire in woodland, peatland areas or near buildings.
“Please dispose of litter and cigarettes responsibly, even if this means taking it home with you; call 999 and ask for the fire service if you see an out of control fire and follow the The Scottish Government’s Outdoor Access Code.”
“If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact the estates office.
“Many thanks to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, our staff and the local farmers who attended.”
Firefighters battle to save the estate
The estate’s head forester, gamekeeper and rural surveyor attended the incident before the fire crews got there.
Three fire engines along with a specialist forest fire support unit attended following reports of the woodland fire at 2.40pm.
The team used backpack sprays, beaters, one main pump and one hose reel jet to bring the flames under control as well as utilising the forestry unit.
Members of the forestry team and local farmers also raced to the estate to lend a helping hand.
Cairngorm National Park fire
Around seven football pitches worth of forest was destroyed by a severe wildfire at the Cairngorm National Park over the weekend.
Firefighters battled through the night from Saturday, June 5 until Sunday, June 6 to bring the fire, which took hold of a huge area of woodland near Loch Morlich, close to Aviemore, under control.
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) described the fire as “devastating but preventable.”
Maree Morison, recreation ranger for FLS warned the impact of wildfires can last for decades, urging visitors to plan ahead and taken all necessary precautions.
She said: “A huge thanks to the crews from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who attended on the day and stopped this fire from being much worse.
“Over recent weeks we have been working closely with the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and SFRS to raise awareness of the ‘very high fire risk’ message by using social media, on-site signage and leaflets, all supplemented by additional on-site staff who are helping us to convey this and other key messages.
“The impact of wildfires can affect habitats and wildlife for months, years or even decades.”
She added: “It is imperative that visitors plan ahead and are aware of the potential safety precautions that they need to take, especially when conditions are so hot and dry.”