St Mary’s Loch Fire cause unknown

FIREFIGHTERS do not yet know the cause of the blaze which has destroyed 100 acres of hill land near St Mary’s Loch.

Local sources suggest the grassland fire was heather burning which got out of control on Monday.

At the height of the blaze around 50 firefighters were tackling the flames but were hampered by the difficult terrain.

A spokesperson for the service told TheSouthern last night: “We are not clear on the cause yet but are now down to three pumps and will update you better when we know more tomorrow.”

The fire crews appeared to get the blaze under control overnight between Monday and Tuesday but it started to spread again yesterday afternoon.

Seven pumping appliances and two specialist vehicles attended and fire fighters were on foot using beaters and water backpacks on the steep hillside in a bid to extinguish the flames.

A spokeswoman for the Service said: “Gorse and grass fires are unpredictable and can get out of control and spread rapidly. This makes for a challenging job for firefighters trying to get the fire under control and anticipate potential spread. It can also be physically arduous for crews fighting the blaze on foot.

“The fire and rescue service urge members of the public to stay away from the immediate area, and remain vigilant at all times when they are out in the countryside. In dry weather such as we’ve had this week, take extra care to avoid starting a fire. Dispose of cigarettes butts properly, ensuring they are extinguished first and never leave glass bottle lying out.”