Wild fire burned for three days

Scottish Fire & Rescue Service warned of the heightened risk of wild fires days, before the fire that took hold on five miles of hillside at Dalmellington.
Scottish Fire & Rescue Service warned of the heightened risk of wild fires days, before the fire that took hold on five miles of hillside at Dalmellington.

The wildfire that started in an area of Loch Doon near Damellington on Saturday, April 13, has been contained after a three-day battle by fire fighters, police and Forestry Commission workers.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue service spokesman said on Monday: “Firefighters have now left the scene of a forest fire at Loch Doon, Dalmellington in Ayrshire after a third day.

“Operations Control mobilised three fire engines to the scene after the call came in at 6.50pm on Saturday, April 13.

“The public were advised to stay away from the area and nearby residents asked to keep their windows closed.

“Crews worked alongside the Forestry Commission and Police Scotland to monitor the area over the past few days and remained on scene until the area was made safe.”

At least five miles of hillside on the nothern edge of the Galloway fores is believed

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to have been affected and the local council reported helicopers being used to douse the flames and they remained on standby to assist the emergency services and offer support to the local community.

Crews worked alongside the Forestry Commission and Police Scotland and remained on scene until the area was made safe.

A rest and welfare facility was established in the community centre in Dalmellington for local residents affected by the fire.

The cause of the outbreak is still being investigated but the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said recent dry weather had heightened the wildfire risk.

They had issued a warning about the risk of wildfires three days before the Dalmellington fire.

SFRS Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay said: “Our crews across Scotland have had a challenging weekend attending numerous incidents.

“Due to the outstanding collaborative working with land owners, the Forestry Commission and Police Scotland we have been able to ensure the safety of our communities.

“I would like to thank the wider community for their ongoing support, the hard work of our partners, and the crews on the ground for their tireless efforts.”

Wild and grass fires can start by the careless disposal of cigarettes and barbecues or campfires left unattended. They have the potential to burn for days and devastate vast areas of land, wildlife and threaten the welfare of nearby communities.

SFRS area manager Bruce Farquharson, chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, said: “We saw last year the devastating effect wildfires can have on communities and wildlife.

“The dry and warm weather we are currently experiencing means there is a heightened risk of wildfire across the country.

“Many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires, which can cause significant environmental and economic damage.

“Livestock, farmland, wildlife, protected woodland and sites of special scientific interest can all be devastated by these fires - as can the lives of people living and working in rural communities.”

The SFRS works closely with land managers, communities and other safety partners to prevent these incidents ever occurring, and Mr Farquharson continued: “At the start of spring there is often a lot of dead vegetation left over from last year - this fuel can dry out quickly with higher temperatures and lower humidity levels.

“A great many people will be enjoying the outdoors in the good weather this weekend, we urge everyone to make sure that they don’t increase the chance of wildfire – be aware of the risks and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.