Woodland destroyed as wildfire rips through half of nature reserve

The fire, which started near Cannich, south of Inverness, burned for five days before crews got it under control.

Woodland destroyed as Cannich wildfire rips through half of RSPB Corrimony nature reserve STV News

Swathes of woodland and moorland at RSPB Corrimony have been destroyed after a wildfire ripped through half of the nature reserve.

The fire, which started near Cannich, south of Inverness, burned for five days before crews got it under control on Wednesday.

More than 20 firefighters remained at the scene to dampen the area and deal with “deep-seated hotspots” on Thursday.

The blaze ripped through approximately 15 square kilometres (around 1,500 hectares), taking with it around 50% of RSPB Corrimony.

“At this time of year, I should be seeing young chicks emerging from their nests but now only their parents are left in the charred landscape,” said Simon McLaughlin, site manager at RSPB Scotland.

The charity said that many of the reserve’s bird species, like the endangered black grouse and Scottish crossbill, had lost chicks or eggs in the incident.

Hundreds of native trees planted to regenerate habitats in the area were also destroyed, with the RSPB now looking for donations to rebuild and recover.

Firefighters had previously attended fires at the same area on four separate occasions since May 23.

At its height, nine appliances were mobilised to the incident, as well as a helicopter to water bomb the affected area.

SFRS group commander Niall MacLennan said: ā€œWe currently have five fire appliances, including specialist resources in attendance as firefighters continue to dampen down the area and tackle hotspots that are deep-seated into the ground.

“This has been a challenging large-scale fire, which has no doubt impacted on the rural community here. Our crews, who have been working tirelessly since Sunday to tackle this wildfire, will remain at the scene until it’s made safe.”

A wildfire warning, graded as “very high”, remains in place across many parts of east, central and southern Scotland until June 5.

Members of the public in the area are being asked not to walk their dogs near where the helicopters are releasing water as a safety precaution, and to close their windows and doors.

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