Scotland wildfires: Highland fire reaches 'within 100 yards' of care home

Police and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have warned people in the area to stay indoors and close all windows and doors.

A fleet of coaches were on standby to evacuate residents from a care home after a wildfire reached within just 100 yards from the premise, a councillor has said.

Flames ripped through part of the Highlands on Saturday, reportedly covering an area up to a mile long.

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Firefighters were alerted to the blaze near the village of Daviot, about seven miles south east from Inverness, at 2.45pm on Saturday.

As at Sunday, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) confirmde crews are still at the scene to ensure the area is safe.

Councillor for Inverness South Duncan Macpherson said the region has seen a bout of dry, hot weather which has left woodland “timber dry” which led to “a substantial fire.”

"The moment the flames caught onto any of the pine trees it was like some sort of explosion.”

The conucillor said Daviot Care Home was preparing for “a full scale evacuation” because the widflire swept across the other side of the B9154 road that goes past the residence.

Fire crews outside the Daviot Care Home (pic: Duncan Macpherson)Fire crews outside the Daviot Care Home (pic: Duncan Macpherson)
Fire crews outside the Daviot Care Home (pic: Duncan Macpherson)

"The fire came wtihin 100 yards of the care home,” he said.

"It was very close.

"You can see the damage now from the flames on some land just on the other side of the road.

“A neighbour told me there was a fleet of buses from D&E Coaches outside in case of a full scale evacuation of patients and staff from the busy care home.”

Duncan Macpherson, counillor for Inverness South ward which has been impacted by the wildfire near Daviot (pic: Duncan Macpherson)Duncan Macpherson, counillor for Inverness South ward which has been impacted by the wildfire near Daviot (pic: Duncan Macpherson)
Duncan Macpherson, counillor for Inverness South ward which has been impacted by the wildfire near Daviot (pic: Duncan Macpherson)

Donald Matheson, who owns D&E Coaches, confirmed the company had four vehicles on standby in case the flames reached any closer to the property.

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One video on social media showed the wildfire engulfing a tree in a Daviot resident’s garden, just metres from their house.

Cllr Macpherson added: “Even further away in Inverness there was a pungent smell of ash in the air.

"Once raindrops started to appear, you could see that cars were covered in ash.”

Daviot Care Home had coaches on standby outside ready to evacuate residents as a wildfire spread across the surrounding areas (pic: Duncan Macpherson)Daviot Care Home had coaches on standby outside ready to evacuate residents as a wildfire spread across the surrounding areas (pic: Duncan Macpherson)
Daviot Care Home had coaches on standby outside ready to evacuate residents as a wildfire spread across the surrounding areas (pic: Duncan Macpherson)

He said local contractors were out with diggers turning the soil to create fire breaks.

A spokesperson for Daviot Care Home said: "The safety and wellbeing of our residents and colleagues is our highest priority and we are following the advice of the emergency services who are closely monitoring the situation. We are pleased to hear the fire is under control.

"All of our colleagues have been amazing as they have supported our residents, who are all doing well and remain in high spirits. We would like to thank the emergency services for their hard work, and for supporting the home throughout.”

The SFRS said the flames continued to burn throughout the night, with six fire engines and specialist resources on site tackling the fire.

Helicopters also assisted with dousing the flames.

As of Sunday, four fire engines remain at the scene to ensure the area is safe, SFRS added.

A patch of land just over the road from the Daviot Care Home where the wildfire reached (pic: Duncan Macpherson)A patch of land just over the road from the Daviot Care Home where the wildfire reached (pic: Duncan Macpherson)
A patch of land just over the road from the Daviot Care Home where the wildfire reached (pic: Duncan Macpherson)
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Emergency services have warned people in the affected area and surroundings to stay indoors and close all windows and doors to prevent smoke inhalation.

Saturday was the hottest day of the year for Scotland, after 29.8°C was recorded in Auchincruive, Ayrshire.

Scientist Dr Gail Millin-Chalabi told BBC One's The Sunday Show wildfires have become more common in recent years.

"One of the things to bear in mind is we are seeing hotter, drier, longer summers in the UK and this was predicted back in 2013 when wildfire was first identified as a risk in the UK," she said.

"We are seeing larger, more severe wildfires here. We had the largest number of burnt areas of 30 hectares or larger in 2022, with 151 in total for the wildfire season."

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