Wildfire incidents

Wildfire in Benbecula on Monday morning. Picture: submitted
Wildfire in Benbecula on Monday morning. Picture: submitted

During the Easter holiday weekend over the last 72 hours from midnight of 28th March to 1st April Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service have received in excess of 80 wildfire related incidents including several in the Western Isles.

A 25 acre area of land on Benbecula was burning this morning (Monday).

Incidents were received across the islands network where fires in North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay stretched resources. Fire crews from Lochmaddy, Bayhead, Benbecula and Lochboisdale stations attending a number of incidents throughout the islands.

Incidents included East Kilbride in South Uist which was attended for six hours by fire crews from Lochboisdale, Benbecula and Lochmaddy.

A spokesman for the service said: “Highlands and Islands Fire Control and all attending fire crews have worked extremely hard alongside land owners with aerial support from Helicopters, in some cases for days, to contain and extinguish fires which on several occasions were in close proximity to property.

“I would like to thank all who have exerted great efforts to bring these fires to a safe conclusion over this extremely challenging period.”

You can assist the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service to reduce the number of wildfire incidents by adopting the following guidance:

Visitors and local communities while enjoying the countryside should remember dry ground means there’s an added risk of a fire starting and should take care at all times of the year while outdoors.

When landowners are Muirburning undertake burning in a safe and professional manner following these points as part of a risk assessment:-

Inform adjoining proprietors for your Muirburn plans for the day.

Telephone the Fire & Rescue Service providing details of location, extent of intended burning and let them know when the fires have been extinguished.

Do not burn if weather is unsuitable.

Do not burn if weather is too dry.

Do not burn if the wind is too strong.

Do not allow the width of fires to exceed 50 metres.

Do not burn uphill on steep slopes.

Do not burn unless you know how, and where, the fire will be extinguished.

Further advice and guidance relating to Fire Safety/Muirburning should be viewed utilising the following links:

The Muirburn Code – www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/158517/0042975.pdf.

Prescribed Burning on Moorland, A Supplement to The Muirburn Code: A Guide to Best Practice www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/15821/0042977.pdf.

Fire Safety outdoors: www.directscot.org/article/fire-safety-barbecues-camping-and-the-outdoors.

Pictured is the scene at Benbecula this morning - photos by Simon Davies.