Finzean wildfire burns pinewood

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Almost 50 acres of native pinewood on the west hill of Finzean were destroyed by a major wildfire.

It broke out at around 3pm on Friday (March 30) in an area of historic native pinewood surrounded by large areas of commercial forestry. Neighbouring estates immediately responded with their own personnel and firefighting equipment. Eight crews from Grampian Fire & Rescue Service also attended. Helicopter assistance was required due to the scale and nature of the fire.

At its height, around 90 people helped bring it under control and by 7.30pm, the fire service stood down. A dozen people remained on the scene overnight to control hot spots and rekindling fires and throughout Saturday and Sunday the scene was continually monitored.

Andrew Farquharson, partner with the Finzean Estate Partnership, said the damage was limited to 47 acres of native pinewood, including a small area of commercial forestry.

“Finzean Estate would like to pass on their most sincere thanks to the magnificent response of Estate staff and local Finzean residents, neighbours and friends from Birse, Ballogie, Glen Tanar, Fasque and Glendye, who brought with them their specialist fire equipment for fighting forest and moorland fires,” he said.

“This was absolutely crucial at the time, and the team spirit of all who played their part fire watching through the night was quite magnificent.

“Grateful thanks also go to all the units of the fire service who attended the scene so rapidly and were vital in playing their part in controlling the fire.

“The arrival of the helicopter at the right time was also particularly helpful and prevented the fire from encroaching too far into the main forest area.

“The area most affected was within a special nature reserve forming part of the native pinewood area and the most easterly remnant of the old Caledonian Wood left in Scotland.

“It is of enormous importance in conservation terms providing the habitat of rare species of birds including the capercaillie and the Scottish crossbill.”