Crews work with partners to protect communities of Barra and Skye during significant fires

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Deputy Assistant Chief Officer David Farries has spoken of his pride after firefighters worked through the night to bring the fires under control

Barra fire pic 22

 Picture courtesy of @Angus MacNeilSNP



Committed firefighters battled a series of significant fires that had taken hold on the isles of Barra and Skye over the weekend.

The retained crews responded to several reports of fire on Barra from 5.15pm on Saturday evening through until the early hours of Sunday morning.

The fires had taken hold of grass and vegetation within the Brevig area of the island with the longest fire front stretching for around half a kilometre.

Meanwhile, retained firefighters on Skye also worked overnight from Saturday into Sunday.

They contained and extinguished a large fire in the Edinbane area, which had a three kilometre fire front and had also taken hold of grass and vegetation.

SFRS firefighters worked in partnership with fire crews from Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd as well as colleagues from the Coastguard and RNLI.

There were no casualties.

David Farries is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Assistant Chief Officer responsible for the North of Scotland.

He said: “There was clearly a huge focus over the past week on firefighters across the country working through some of the most challenging weather conditions to reach people affected by heavy snowfall.

DACO David Farries

“But our crews in the North were working as equally hard over the weekend to control and extinguish a series of very significant fires out in the open, and across several locations.

“They worked effectively with partners to protect lives, properties and the environment – and they are an absolute credit to their communities and to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank them alongside our partners and colleagues at Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd for bringing these incidents to a safe conclusion.”

Wildfires and grass fires can start for a number of various reasons including the careless disposal of cigarettes and barbecues or campfires left unattended.

Farmers and landowners also practice Muirburning between October 1 and April 15 to burn off areas of rough grass in an effort to improve grazing conditions for livestock.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service works closely with land managers, communities and other safety partners, and encourages everyone to follow the Scottish Government’s Muirburn Code.

Before carrying out a Muirburn, a person must notify the relevant landowner as well as anyone living within one kilometre of the intended site.

DACO Farries said: “If you are going to participate in controlled burning, please ensure you make the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service aware of your intentions.

“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.

“Human behaviour can also significantly lower the chance of a wildfire starting so it’s crucial people act safely and responsibly in rural environments and follow the countryside code.”