Fire crews revealed they were dealing with a “complex and challenging” incident as they battled for a second day to contain a wildfire in the Highlands.
Police ordered people to keep away from the Golspie area as more than 50 firefighters, a helicopter, nine fire engines and a number of specialist resources were brought in to tackle the blaze.
The fire, which erupted close to the Duke of Sutherland monument, came within quarter of a mile of the nearest properties in the village, which was filled with smoke at one point.
It follows a spate of wildfires in the Highlands after weeks of hot, dry weather with little rain.
Emergency crews were called out to the scene after the alarm was first raised at about 12.04am on Saturday.
Group manager Billy McLintock, the officer in charge of the incident overnight, said crews were working hard to protect the surrounding area and residents’ homes.
He said: “This remains a complex and challenging incident for crews on the ground and it is likely that we will remain on the scene for some time.
“Crews and partners worked throughout the night on Ben Bhraggie, and during this time our crews and operations control have been in regular contact with nearby residents.
“We would advise nearby residents to keep windows and doors closed due to smoke, and contact us should they have any concerns.
“While no property has been significantly affected by the fire so far, crews will continue to monitor the flames and act to protect homes and properties.
“I would once again like to thank the wider community for their ongoing support, the hard work of our partners, and the crews on the ground for their tireless efforts.”
Last night Scott Morrison, managing director of Dunrobin Castle, said residents had been acting on the advice of the emergency services.
He said: “I live in the centre of the village and this morning the smoke was terrible. People were advised by fire and ambulance services to keep their windows and doors closed and that’s what they did.”
Police said it was likely that the air quality in the village would be affected by the smoke due to a change in the wind direction throughout the day.
Officers advised that residents take common sense measures to reduce the effects of smoke, adding that the message was “especially pertinent” to anyone suffering a pre-existing respiratory condition.
The Highland health board also warned that members of the public affected should contact the NHS for advice.
Elisabeth Smart, a consultant in public health for NHS Highland, said: “The public should keep their windows and doors closed and if there is visible smoke they should remain indoors except for essential travel.
“Anyone exposed to the smoke who develops irritation to the air passages, skin, eyes or respiratory symptoms (coughing, wheezing and breathlessness) or any other unusual symptoms should contact NHS 24 on 111 in the first instance.
“Individuals with heart or lung diseases such as asthma should ensure they have access to their medication especially inhalers and seek medical advice if their symptoms worsen.”
Police and fire services were unable to say yesterday whether the fire was suspicious.