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Crews called back to Moray wildfire that was one of the largest seen in the UK after it reignites

Firefighters deal with a wildfire near Dava, Grantown on Spey. Picture by Jason Hedges
Firefighters deal with a wildfire near Dava, Grantown on Spey. Picture by Jason Hedges

Fire crews yesterday returned to the scene of one of the largest wildfires in the UK after it reignited.

The blaze was said to have been dealt with on Thursday morning but nine appliances were called back to the area around Knockando at about 1.47pm yesterday afternoon.

Smoke could be seen around the Dava Way near to Forres as emergency crews were called into action once again.

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue service confirmed that they were back  at the scene of the wildfire which had reignited.

He said: “Crews are in attendance at a large wildfire just south of Forres – after being stood down they have now gone back.

“The alarm was raised at 1.47pm, the incident is still ongoing and we have nine appliances on the scene at the moment.”

A spokeswoman for Scottish Natural Heritage warned that further wildfires could be caused if the dry conditions continued into the summer.

She said: ‘The prolonged dry spring and summer seasons of 2018 contributed to a series of fires impacting upon both protected sites and the wider countryside.

“So far this year we have experienced a fairly dry spring, leaving a lot of dry vegetation on Scotland’s hills.


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“This, combined with the windy conditions has unfortunately impacted on the spread and number of wildfires experienced so far.  We continue to issue advice and warnings from our wildfire specialists.”

Firefighters had previously battled the mammoth fire on Speyside as it raced across land between Knockando, Dallas and Dunphail where it was estimated that it spread across about 27 square miles.

Emergency services were helped by gamekeepers and staff from an estimated 30 estates across Scotland from Drumochter to Angus who supplied specialist equipment and manpower to them.

Over the course of the four days, more than 80 firefighters, two helicopters, 19 fire engines and specialist resources attended the wildfire and managed to finally extinguish it yesterday morning.

 

The dry, warm weather combined with a strong breeze has caused havoc throughout Moray, with firefighters being forced to work exhausting shifts while battling the ongoing problem.

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead thanked everyone involved in this tremendous effort to keep the region safe.

He said: “I pay tribute to all involved given that we’ve witnessed in recent days a tremendous community effort to tackle the wildfire with retained firefighters leaving their day job to do their bit, gamekeepers, estate workers and so many others joining colleagues from across the various emergency services and agencies to work round the clock.

“We’ve also seen local people and businesses providing donations to keep everyone fed and watered.

“Hopefully the weather will be kinder and bring an end soon to what has been an extraordinary wildfire that has left much damage in its wake.

“As summer approaches, I urge everyone to be doubly vigilant but much reflection is needed to ensure we are in the best possible place to deal with what is an increasing phenomenon.”

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