Highlands & Islands

Wild fire land in north and isles covers '10 Hampdens'

Firefighter beating flames
Image caption A firefighter beats flames at Ardnish in the north-west Highlands

Ten Hampden Park-sized football grounds could be fitted into the 332 acres of land calculated to have been burnt in wild fires in the north since 1 May.

Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service recorded the acreage of several of the most serious of the 73 heath and grass fires its crews have tackled.

The 332-acre total includes 100 acres burnt in Locaber on 1 May, but does not take into account all land affected.

Landowners contributed more than £1m towards the cost of the fire fighting.

The Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA), which has provided the figure, said private landowners and estates supplied staff, specialist equipment and paid for helicopters to water-bomb flames.

Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service (HIFRS) said the majority of wild fires in its area were now out.

Parts of Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Fife were also affected during a dry and windy spell of weather.

Crews tackled flames on the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire, while smoke from a fire near Tyndrum temporarily closed the A82 in Argyll.

The north-west Highlands was the worst hit.

Image caption Estate staff tackle a wild fire using specialist equipment

Since the start of the month, 150 acres of burning heath were tackled by crews from Fort William, Newtonmore and Kilchoan.

Acharacle and Mallaig dealt with a 100-acre heath fire, while crews from Stornoway and South Lochs extinguished a 24-acre grass fire on Lewis.

Dunvegan, Portree and Uig crews extinguished a wild fire that burnt 40 acres on Skye.

Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland's national stadium, sits in 33 acres bought in 1903.

HIFRS has praised firefighters and the public for their help in dealing with the incidents.

SRPBA Highlands and Islands regional manager, Drew McFarlane-Slack, said private landowners and their employees had played their part.

He said: "Many of our members have made a huge effort over the last week investing significant time and resources supporting and working with the fire and rescue service and their neighbouring landowners like the National Trust for Scotland and the RSPB to fight the fires.

"This is despite the majority of affected land falling outwith our members' own estates."

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