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Lochaber and Skye Police have appealed for information after saying that the large fire in the Moll area on the afternoon of Friday February 12, was started deliberately, and damaged fencing and resulted in ‘dangerous road conditions’ which led to the closure of the A87.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portree police on 101 quoting incident no 1,442 of February 12.
During the last week, appliances were called out to blazes at Taynuilt, Harris, Benbecula, Bernera and Skye, the latter seeing five separate callouts within 24 hours and nine in three days.
Frozen vegetation and windy conditions led to fire spreading rapidly putting emergency services under pressure. Blazes on Harris and Benbecula also broke out, the latter being very remote and equivalent to a couple of hundred acres with a 500-metre fire front.
On Saturday, firefighters brought a grass fire under control at the rear of Glen Lonan which was reported at 1.30pm and took just under two hours to extinguish with three appliances from Oban.
Alasdair Allan, MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, praised those across the Western Isles who had responded to a high number of call-outs to bring muirburn under control.
Mr Allan said: ‘The fire crews are to be praised for their efforts in helping protect life and property. Many individuals are volunteers, attending call-outs after a full day’s work only to be up all night fighting the blazes. Several of the fires have been of considerable size and in difficult to access areas.
‘Fire crews, alongside the coastguard, have also been busy assisting with vaccination clinics. In the current pandemic, we should avoid any actions which may put our emergency services under any unnecessary pressure. I would urge people to refrain from undertaking muirburn under the present extreme conditions.’
Photograph: Tom McCluskie shows the wildfire past Bunavoneader on Harris on Thursday (February 11).