Wildfires never a flash-in-the-pan
More than 12 weeks after the initial fire was put out, teams from Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) are still monitoring hotspots in Kerrow Forest, at Cannich.
The move comes after a fire crew from Fort Augustus attended the site last weekend (19/20 Aug) when one of of a number of hotspots flared up and reignited.
FLS staff later revisited the forest to review the situation on the ground after SFRS advised them of the incident.
Alex Macleod, FLS North Region Manager, said;
“The risk of there being another major flare up is very small but even a small risk is not worth taking when it comes to fire.
“Everyone is all too aware of the damage that these fires caused earlier in the summer but very few people understand that the fire risk can persist long after the main emergency has been dealt with.
“We are keeping a close eye on the site and if necessary, we will damp-down the known hot-spots that have been smouldering away since the original fire and greatly reduce the likelihood of another flare up.
“We’ll be monitoring the site for several weeks yet but the fact that we are still dealing with this, months after the main fire, will hopefully make more people take note and encourage them to always be extremely aware of the wildfire risk.”
FLS and RSPB personnel, along with other land managers and neighbours, worked to support SFRS in May and June when the fire was at its peak. At one stage seven SFRS appliances were in attendance and helicopter assistance was also required.
Such dramatic incidents often capture public attention but interest usually wanes after the surface fire has been extinguished.
The danger for land managers remains due to residual pockets of intense heat that can smoulder in the peatland underground and underneath tree root plates, often for months. The hot spots can also ‘travel’ some distance from the original seat of the fire and, if the heat makes its way to the surface, can reignite fires or start new fires.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.