A huge wildfire that has been burning in the Highlands for days has the "potential to become Scotland's largest" on record, an expert has said. 

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was first alerted to the blaze near a farm in Cannich on Sunday afternoon.

However, local fire stations across the Highlands shared they had responded to wildfires in the area earlier last week. Forestry bosses have since linked the blaze to wild camping. 

Satellite imagery shows that almost 3,000 hectares had already been burned by around 2pm on Tuesday, Dr Thomas Smith confirmed. 

The wildfire expert and associate professor at LSE said it also showed "strong winds evident from the smoke plume" meaning it would likely continue to spread. 

Scotland's largest wildfire by burned area on record currently took place in May 2019 in between Melvich and Strathy, Sutherland and covered 5,430 hectares

Dr Smith said: “I think if it's not contained by tomorrow morning, it could get close. If it hasn't already... That was my estimate from 2 pm imagery and I expect it's spread quite a bit since then.”

Based on figures from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) which tracks wildfires since 2008, the second-largest recorded fire took place in 2019 and covered around 2718 hectares.  

We previously reported that a fire south of Glenuig, Lochaber in April of this year was estimated to be the second largest in the UK after more than 3,000 hectares were scorched. 

Forestry Journal:

At the peak of the efforts to contain the flames near Cannich, nine fire engines were sent to the scene. 

On Monday, a helicopter was sent to waterbomb the area and five crews remained at the scene on Tuesday. 

Two firefighters have also been airlifted to hospital after they were injured near the scene of the blaze. 

Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) said the accident, which saw two people injured, involved an overturned vehicle.

One of the injured was transported to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness by SCAA, while their specialist team accompanied the other casualty to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with a coastguard helicopter.

READ MORE: Cannich: Fire crews battle wildfire for nearly one week

The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) said it sent multiple resources to the scene after being called around 9am today.

SAS confirmed two people were hospitalised. 

Emergency services have advised people living nearby the blaze to keep their doors and windows closed to limit the impact of the smoke. 

An SCAA spokesperson told our sister title the Herald: "Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance received a call around 9.30am requesting air ambulance support at an incident involving an overturned vehicle in Beauly.

"SCAA deployed from their Aberdeen base, airlifting a critical care team to the scene. 

"SCAA airlifted one patient to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, while the specialist team accompanied a second casualty to Aberdeen Royal infirmary by a coastguard helicopter."

The SFRS has warned about the dangers of wildfires during the hot dry spell, which is creating tinderbox conditions on Scotland's hillsides. 

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service statement around 4pm added: "We anticipate this incident will be ongoing for the foreseeable future. The fire has spread and additional helicopters have been requested for water bombing.

"Two firefighters have sustained injuries during the response to this incident and have been transported to hospital via air ambulance."