Fears that homes in Moray may have to be evacuated were present throughout Friday as a massive wildfire burned its way into a third day.
Police were knocking on the doors of residents nearby as flames continued to devastate moorland near Dunphail, about six miles south of Forres.
Last night, the fire service continued to warn locals to avoid the area and stressed a warning about rural blazes remained in force across the whole of Scotland.
Only as darkness fell did it appear crews had broken the back of the blaze, with helicopter water-bombing appearing to extinguish the final flames in a large area of woodland.
Scottish Fire and Rescue said crews would remain on scene throughout the night and are expected to remain there today.
As the emergency effort continued yesterday, calls were made to review the way moorland is managed in light of the second such large incident in Moray within a month.
Earlier in the day, crews were said to be “making progress” against the flames, which were spread across a square mile at one point, but strong winds in the rural location constantly hampered efforts.
Farmers and estate workers worked alongside firefighters to tackle numerous pockets of fire, while helicopters dropped water from above.
Trees were reduced to cinders as they were engulfed by the advancing fire and the teams working to stem its spread had to deal with thick smoke at all times.
The road between Dunphail and Craigroy, near Dallas, remained closed throughout the day as drifting smoke made driving unsafe.
Engineers from Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) were also closely monitoring the fire, which was close to the Berry Burn Wind Farm and power lines, but the firm confirmed no damage had been caused.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
As he kept abreast of developments, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “Recently I’ve had good discussions with representatives from the police and fire service about the need to be better prepared for wildfires locally, given we are set to have more long, dry spells of weather in the future.
“It is important all agencies continue to look at how we respond to incidents like this to minimise the damage caused.”
Forres councillor Claire Feaver, meanwhile, said: “It is absolutely heartbreaking to see the latest devastating wildfire and the enormous damage it has done to the wildlife in the area.
“Plant and insect communities will have been completely wiped out, small animals fried to death and the breeding habitat of many bird species lost for the season.
“We have to review how we are managing these precious areas.”
A fire spokeswoman said: “People should continue to avoid the area and remember a wildfire warning remains in place across Scotland.”