Wild fires continue across Highlands and Islands

FIRE crews have been working throughout the night to tackle the latest in a spate of wildfires that have broken out across the Highlands and Islands.

Around a million square metres of heath, grass and trees have been burned in dozens of wildfires over the last 24 hours, threatening properties and destroying electricity posts and fences.

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Wildfires were still raging on open ground on Eilean Shona, a remote tidal island in Loch Moidart around 40 miles west of Fort William, and near the village of Poolewe in Wester Ross.

Around 20 firefighters were still working to bring these fires under control today, and a helicopter was also on stand-by to assist on Eilean Shona.

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The largest single fire yesterday was in Great Bernera, on the Isle of Lewis, destroying up to 120 acres, equal to around half a million square metres, of heathland and heather.

A large heath blaze threatened property in Kilchoan and was beaten back by firefighters, while 28 fenceposts, three electricity poles and wild trees were destroyed in an 80,000 sq m heath fire in Portree.

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Wildfires are common in the Highlands at this time of year but it less common to see so many in a single day, a Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said.

“Our resources have been extremely stretched,” she added.

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“All attending fire crews have worked extremely hard and in some cases for long periods to return areas to a safe condition.”