Large wildfires take hold

Fire crews from across Deeside and Donside attended three separate large-scale wildfire incidents.

The first calls to a hill fire near the B974 Cairn o’Mount road were received at 1.17pm on Wednesday (March 28) and six crews, made up of firefighters from Laurencekirk. Inverbervie, Stonehaven, North Anderson Drive and Altens, as well as a further crew from Tayside Fire and Rescue, from Brechin, attended.

A helicopter drop[ed water on the fire at 3pm.

The fire front was around a mile long and was primarily heather and gorse. The fire started after a controlled burning exercise on a local estate got out of control.

At 1.54pm the same day, crews also tackled a grass fire near Aboyne. Firefighters from Aboyne, Banchory, Ballater, Inverurie and Turriff were supported by a forestry unit and one control officer. No cause was known at the time.

At 2.46pm the same day at Alford, a large area of grassland, estimated at around 150m x 150m, was tackled by retained firefighters from Alford. Concerned residents raised the alarm and the cause was unknown.

Station manager Mike Cordiner said: “These incidents have a huge resource requirement, as in many cases firefighting comes down to our crews using beaters to tackle the blaze as, due to the remoteness of the incidents, water isn’t available nearby or is too distant to use pumps and hoses. There is a code of practice for controlled burning, and a number of legal requirements too, and I encourage all landowners and tenants to make themselves familiar with the muirburn code for burning. Malicious fires are always very dangerous, but grassland fires can be doubly so as the fire can change direction in an instant. Fires that start to approach people’s homes and businesses cause great distress to the occupiers and can destroy property. These three examples of wildland fires are a good example of what can happen. We’ve 13 crews, 18 vehicles, three officers and a lot of people involved for fires that should never have started.”