South Scotland

Firefighters tackle 24-hour Kirkcowan grass blaze

Firefighters have battled for nearly 24 hours to bring a "massive wildfire" under control in Dumfries and Galloway.

Nine engines and about 45 crew were on scene at the height of the incident near Kirkcowan which broke out on Sunday at 16:00.

About 25 Forestry Commission Scotland staff also assisted in the effort to put out the grass and woodland flames.

The fire was "largely under control" by 15:00 on Monday but damping down work continued for some time afterwards.

Station manager Keith Murray said: "This was a complex and physically-demanding firefighting operation that required a co-ordinated approach over a very wide area.

"Our teams faced three large fire fronts as well as isolated pockets of burning grass and woodland.

"A wildfire is inherently unpredictable and they also had to work on terrain that was difficult to access and in blistering heat for a prolonged period of time."

Devastating impact

He praised everyone involved in tackling the fire.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service warned that wildfires can have a devastating impact on the countryside, destroying livestock, farmland, wildlife, protected woodland and sites of special scientific interest.

It said it worked closely with land managers and communities to reduce the number of wildfires.

However, it added the public could help prevent wildfires by making sure they disposed of litter and smoking materials carefully while in rural areas.

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