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Power lines under threat as huge wildfire tears through Moray moorland and forest

Dozens of firefighters returned to remote moorland in Moray yesterday following the outbreak of another huge wildfire.

A flurry of emergency calls were made shortly after 4pm after smoke and flames were spotted at Johnstripe, east of Dunphail, and near to the Berry Burn Wind Farm.

Last night, nine fire crews continued to fight the blaze south of Forres which by then had taken hold in at least three locations, including in forest.

A spokeswoman said this morning 10 crews remained at the scene.

Flames and thick black smoke could be seen shooting up to three times the height of trees and the blaze was visible for many miles around.

Engineers from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks joined emergency crews and estate workers at the scene yesterday due to the presence of power lines.

Turbines were also potentially under threat.

The blaze began in almost the same stretch of moorland where a large wildfire – thought to have been the UK’s biggest – was extinguished just weeks ago after days of effort from crews.

Strong winds raced across the moorland yesterday evening to fan the flames, which created smoke that could be seen from as far away as Lossiemouth and beyond.

About 45 firefighters from stations including Forres, Carrbridge, Grantown, Elgin and Lossiemouth all took part in the latest effort.

Police closed off roads leading to the site in order to prevent traffic from being threatened by the fire.

A command post combining several different emergency crews was established a short distance from the blaze to coordinate efforts.

A small number of homes were in the vicinity of the fire but its not thought any were threatened and last night there were no reports of evacuations.

A fire service spokeswoman said: “We received the call about the fire at about 4.13pm.

“Nine appliances have been deployed to the wildfire, including two water carriers and the wildfire units.

“Firefighters are working to extinguish the fire, which has taken hold of a section of grass and forestry.”

Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “Once again we are indebted to the emergency services, farmers, gamekeepers and estate workers for everything that they do to tackle these blazes.”

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