THE exact cause of a woodland wildfire – that has burned for around a week – remains unknown. 

Firefighters and forestry bosses have been on the site near Cannich, south of Inverness, since around last Tuesday when the blaze broke out. 

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said four appliances and crews were at the scene on Monday night. A helicopter was also used to waterbomb the flames. Several firefighters were monitoring for flare-ups this morning.

Forestry Journal:

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) staff have also been on-site and liaising with SFRS and, as of today, have mobilised a team to assist in damping down operations. 

The cause of the fire is still to be assessed, but wild camping is believed to have been involved. 

Alex MacLeod, FLS north region manager, said: “Many people are enjoying being out in the countryside to enjoy the hot weather but the lack of rain recently has made much of the countryside tinder-box dry.

“Camping stoves are clearly recommended as being a better option than campfires but when the weather has been as hot as it has, and the ground is as dry as it is, neither are advisable. Regardless of how it started, this particular incident is a sobering reminder of how easily and quickly a wildfire can take hold and become a major problem. 

“Visitors need to be aware of their surroundings and their actions, take extra precautions and extreme care. Dealing with incidents like this places unnecessary pressure on the emergency services, puts people’s safety at risk, and destroys habitat – which causes extreme distress to the wildlife that was here.

“It’s difficult to say what the extent of the damage is but we know it affects a significant area.”

A similar incident took place in Tentsmuir Forest last Thursday, when a campfire started a wildfire that was attended by SFRS crews from three areas. 

Forestry Journal: A similar fire broke out in Tentsmuir A similar fire broke out in Tentsmuir (Image: FLS)

Access issues required that helicopter assistance was needed on Friday morning to help douse the flames. SFRS continued to deal with smouldering hotspots on Friday evening and again on Saturday morning.