Wildfire risk extended as crews tackle blaze for almost two weeks

The warning has been issued as crews remain at the scene of a wildfire in Cannich which began on May 28.

Wildfires risk extended as crews tackle blaze in Cannich in Highlands for almost two weeks STV News

A “very high” warning for an increased risk of wildfires has been put in place until Saturday.

The alert has been extended after firefighters spent almost two weeks tackling “one of the biggest wildfires in UK history” in the Highlands.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are warning members of the public that even the smallest flame can spread uncontrollably and devastate entire rural areas.

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

The warning, extended on Wednesday to run into the weekend, comes after more than 30 firefighters were recently sent to tackle a blaze in Cannich, near Inverness, measuring approximately 8km by 8km.

The flames broke out on Sunday, May 28 and remain ongoing.

Station commander John Harvey said: “We know that many people will be hoping to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is good, but we urge everyone to make sure that they don’t increase the chance of wildfire. That means being aware of the risks and following the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

“Wild and grass fires can start by the careless disposal of cigarettes and barbecues or campfires left unattended.

“They then have the potential to burn for days and devastate vast areas of land, wildlife and threaten the welfare of nearby communities.”

SC Harvey continued: “During this time of the year, many firefighters across Scotland are preparing to actively tackle wildfires as they work to protect our communities.

“However, many of these fires are preventable so please read our safety advice and enjoy the weather responsibly.”

The warning has been issued after a previous alerts was put in place between May 28 and June 5.

It also comes after The Fire Brigades Union called for further resources to tackle wildfires amid a rise in climate-related incidents.

The union said budget cuts in the last decade have left firefighters without the proper equipment and resources while the frequency and severity of these events have increased.

The rising temperatures are a major factor in increasing the risk of wildfires, with parts of the UK seeing the mercury exceed 40C last July for the first time in recorded history.

Since 2010, 11,500 firefighters have been cut across the UK, and Scotland alone has lost 1,100 firefighters since 2013.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Throughout this week, firefighters in Scotland have bravely battled what is now believed to be one of the biggest wildfires in UK history and which can be seen from space.

“Two of our members have already been injured working in these extreme conditions.

“Thankfully, both have now returned home. However, this shows us the real dangers of the climate emergency.”

He added: “All governments must heed this stark warning: the climate crisis is here now. “We need urgent climate action to prevent loss of life, and that must also involve serious investment in our fire services.”

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