Highlands & Islands

Wildfires rage across Highlands

All available firefighters across the Highlands have been deployed to tackle a series of wildfires in the region.

Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service said more than 60 firefighters were engaged in attempts to bring three blazes under control.

Fires at Cannisbay and Killimster resulted in the closure of the A99, while crews were also fighting a 40-hectare blaze at Morar in Lochaber.

Properties in the region were not thought to face any immediate threat.

However, Northern Constabulary said households could be evacuated if the situation changed.

Attempts by fire crews to tackle the blaze at Cannisbay, which began late on Sunday, were hampered by strong winds and dry weather.

At its height, more than 50 firefighters were in attendance. A helicopter has also been used to support fire crews on the ground as they battled the two-mile wide blaze.

The brigade said strong winds were also fanning the fire at Killimster, which also spans about two miles.

Northern Constabulary said temporary diversions were in place as no traffic was being permitted along the A99.

Drivers are now being urged to use the B876 at Hastigrow to Gills Bay, which will then take them on to John O'Groats and the A836.

Billy Wilson, deputy assistant chief fire officer, paid tribute to his staff.

He said: "Many of our firefighters have been at these incidents for many hours and a number of them, having returned for some well earned rest earlier in the day, have responded again to ensure that HIFRS continues to deliver the professional service which our communities have come to expect.

"Our control room operators have been magnificent in managing the high level of calls generated by these incidents, ensuring that sufficient fire engines and firefighters are able to attend the numerous wildfires, but also ensuring that fire and rescue services can be maintained across the Highlands and Islands."

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