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Twenty-two firefighters battle wildfire in the Highlands

To go with story by Christopher MacLennan. A wildfire near Helmsdale has closed part of the A9 Picture shows; Helmsdale wildfire. Helmsdale. Supplied by Liam Worrall Date; 17/03/2021
To go with story by Christopher MacLennan. A wildfire near Helmsdale has closed part of the A9 Picture shows; Helmsdale wildfire. Helmsdale. Supplied by Liam Worrall Date; 17/03/2021

Fire crews spent almost four hours battling a hill fire near Helmsdale.

Twenty-two firefighters were deployed to tackle the blaze, which at its height stretched to 656ft long.

Crews from Helmsdale, Golspie, Lairg, Dunbeath, Dornoch, Tain and Balintore were paged, with just Lairg and Helmsdale remaining on scene this evening.

The alarm was raised just before 2pm.

Part of the A9 Inverness to Thurso road was closed by police as smoke affected visibility.

Two properties were threatened by the fire front, however, a spokeswoman for the fire service said one is a derelict building and the other is uninhabited.

Beaters, knapsacks and hose reel jets were put to use before the fire split was split into sectors.

Firefighters had managed to contain the fire around 5.45pm, before scaling back shortly before 7pm.

Crews remained on scene for an hour checking for hotspots, before all resources were withdrawn at 7.57pm.

Police closed off the A9 as fire crews battled the blaze

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) engineers were also tasked to attend to isolate power at affected poles.

A police spokeswoman said the force was informed around 3pm with the A9 Inverness to Thurso road closed in both directions.

Fire crews began to depart the scene shortly before 7pm

An SSEN spokesman said: “Shortly after 3pm we were informed by the emergency services of a fire in the Helmsdale area.

“In response to this, we enacted our well-rehearsed procedures and power supplies to two properties have been temporarily disconnected.

“Safety is our number one priority and we will continue to work with the fire service, monitor the situation and turn the power back on when it is safe to do so.”

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