Gamekeepers fight fire with fire

02 credit mrMark1From one climatic extreme to the other, unusually dry weather in Scotland led to more than 240 wildfires breaking out across valuable moorland areas.

Scotland’s gamekeepers were on hand to help, joining the fire service in its battle against the growing number of wildfires in the north-west Highlands and islands using gamekeeping equipment and muir burning experience.

Burning an area ahead of the fire helps create a natural break, ensuring that it will have nothing to burn and so die out.

Estates that possessed ATVs with water tanks and sprayer attachments were in an ideal position to help quell the sudden spate of fires, and gamekeepers on Scotland’s estates intend to work with the fire service in future to prevent recurrent outbreaks.

The fires also threatened the homes and livelihoods of people living in the local area, with one at Strontian on the Ardnamurchan peninsula reaching two miles across and heading towards the village.

Wildfires also appeared in other parts of the northwest, including Skye, Lewis, Mallaig and Glenelg.

A Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA) spokesman said: “Already many estates help their neighbours or the fire service if there is an outbreak in a remote area.

“Our members in the highlands have been speaking to the fire service and we intend to talk further about how the right people can assist on a more formal basis.”

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