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Wildfire engulfs small Hebridean island of Rum

The wildfire on Rum. 
Picture: Rum Deer Research
The wildfire on Rum. Picture: Rum Deer Research

Experts are waiting until it is safe to visit an area of Rum engulfed by fire to see what damage has been done to the wildlife.

Firefighters were in attendance on the Isle of Rum on Wednesday to tackle a wildfire that had spread on the North West side of the island.

Three Scottish Fire and Rescue crews were assembled to tackle the blaze which is believed to have posed no real threat to human life or property, however, there are expected to be environmental impacts to protected habitats and species.

The fire was extinguished yesterday afternoon around 12:50pm with a helicopter chartered by the Scottish National Heritage providing water bombs on the fire overnight.

Experts have said it is too early to assess the damage to wildlife with the Scottish National Heritage expected to visit rum within the next two weeks, and a spokesperson estimating it taking a month for the public body to discover the true extent of the devastation.

George Hogg, Highland Area Manager for the Scottish National Heritage said: “Scottish National Heritage was first alerted to a fire on the North West side of the Isle of Rum at 2pm on Wednesday. Having assessed the area from a helicopter on Thursday morning, we can confirm the fire is now completely out.

“We believe the fire was started accidentally, with the dry conditions and a steady northerly wind causing the fire to quickly spread over a large area.

“We are grateful to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for offering advice and ground support and to the helicopter company for providing aerial support at short notice.”

The occurrence of wildfires is higher at this time of year due to leftover vegetation from the previous year. Advice is being offered by the Scottish National Heritage for land owners to act in a safe and responsible manner during dry periods of weather to prevent the spread of wildfire, especially in rural environments.

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