Fire crews battle three fires on Sunday

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Firefighters fought to take control of a number of wild fires that broke out across Lochaber at the weekend, writes Ellie Forbes.

A fire in Glen Etive caused significant damage to the area on Sunday (May 7).

Chard remains and melted belongings were all that was left after a fire broke out at an adhoc campsite.

It is thought the fire started in the Lochan Urr area of Glen Etive. The fire was still going at 4pm on Monday with firefighters on scene trying to get it under control.

Mark Shone, a stalker at Glen Etive Estate, told the Lochaber Times: ‘Two campers had lit a camp fire in the area and it has just taken off because of the dry weather and a bit of wind. They obviously abandoned ship without raising the alarm.

‘After the fire was out you could see all that was left was a melted tent, cooking pot and a mobile phone. We don’t think it was set deliberately but a bit of common sense wouldn’t have gone a miss. There is a sign about 100m from where they camped saying don’t light fires in this area.’

Mr Shone from Glen Etive Estate said the estate had been left without a phone after the fire melted their line, and there had been wildlife damage with birds nests being destroyed.

He added: ‘Our worry just now is how dry the weather is, but rain is forecast for the weekend which will hopefully help.’

Last month The Scottish Wildfire Forum issued a warning saying the risk of wildfire is at its highest at this time of the year.

SWF said: ‘The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is already working closely with land managers and appealing to tourists and communities to help reduce the number fires in a bid to protect the countryside and its residents.’

A fire and rescue spokesman said: ‘At 1pm on Sunday May 7, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted to a wildfire in Glen Etive.

‘A total of six appliances were subsequently mobilised with firefighters using beaters and water backpacks to tackle the fire, which affected approximately 80 acres of land.

‘The flames were extinguished, however, crews were alerted at 12.34pm the following day to a separate wildfire in the area.

‘Two appliances were mobilised and crews extinguished the flames with beaters and water backpacks.

‘There were no casualties at either incident and firefighters left after ensuring the area was made safe.’

Fire crews were alerted to another fire on Sunday at 1pm north of Invercharnan, Ballachulish. Six fire appliances were sent from Spean Bridge and Fort William to tackle the blaze which stretched across 80 acres of land.

The spokesperson said: ‘There were no casualties and crews left the scene at 8.40pm after ensuring the safety of the area.’

A third fire broke out on Sunday near Leven Road, Kinlochleven, at 10.58am.

One fire engine responded, using beaters and water backpacks to control the flames.

‘At its height a fire front of approximately 25 metres was spread across a steep hillside,’ said the fire and rescue spokesperson. ‘There were no casualties and firefighters left the scene at 2.30pm after ensuring the area was made safe.’