View Full Version : Thurso firemen help quell reserve blaze

19-Apr-11, 08:16
Fears for birdlife after Sutherland reserve fire

AN extensive hill fire on an internationally-important Sutherland nature reserve, yesterday, was last night blamed on sparks from a passing steam train.
According to today’s Press and Journal, a helicopter water-bombed the fire which was still raging as darkness fell. Firefighters from Helmsdale, Thurso, Bettyhill and Tongue joined RSPB staff in fighting the peatland blaze which had a three-mile front at its height. Overnight rain did the rest.
The bird charity was concerned about the impact on the reserve’s rare bird life as it concides with the start of the breeding season. The outbreak was discovered just before lunchtime, on the 20,000 hectare reserve based in the tiny community of Forsinard. It was reported minutes after a steam train, on a charter run, pulled out of the village station.
Reserve site manager Norrie Russell said the heart of the bog-pool system had escaped damaged. However, he said the flames had swept across the wood-slatted trail the RSPB had laid to help visitors tour the area.
Mr Russell shares concerns about the threat to bird life, pointing out that golden plovers have already laid eggs, saying: “ The fire could have a massive impact.”