Forest fire in Cannich causes major damage to Corrimony nature reserve

A bushfire that has been burning across the Highlands since Saturday has caused extensive damage to a nature reserve, according to RSPB Scotland.

The charity said many ground-nesting birds, including partridges, had lost young or eggs in the incident near Cannich, south of Inverness.

Hundreds of native trees planted to regenerate habitats in the RSPB’s Corrimony reserve were also destroyed.

Smoke from the fire was detected by NASA satellites earlier this week.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was first called to the fire shortly before 1pm on Sunday.

It was brought under control on Wednesday, but more than 20 firefighters remain at the scene dealing with “deep hot spots”.


RSPB Scotland said wildlife and habitat were lost in the fire

RSPB Scotland said it had yet to fully assess the fire’s impact on wildlife.

Simon McLaughlin, from the reserve, said he found that fast-moving species such as spiders and lizards survived.

But others, including frogs, were found dead.

RSPB Scotland thanked the dozens of firefighters and property workers involved in the effort to extinguish the blaze.

The charity said: “The damage to Corrimony is extensive and made even more devastating by the impact on many ground-nesting birds that have lost their young and eggs.”

Earlier this week, NASA satellite images showed smoke from the fire drifting 12 miles (20 km) west towards Loch Ness.

People living near the fire were told to keep their doors and windows closed as a precaution against smoke.


The forest fire has been burning for several days

The latest available satellite data suggest that the affected area may be smaller than previously feared.

The SFRS estimated that the blaze burned an area of ​​30 square miles (80 square kilometres) of marsh and woodland, which would make it the largest bushfire seen in the UK.

The service said it is now estimated to be five square miles (15 square kilometers) in size.

Wildfire analysts said the latest available satellite images suggested the “monumental” firefighting effort contained the incident.

SFRS Group Commander Niall MacLennan said: “This was a challenging fire on a large scale, which has undoubtedly affected the rural community here.

“Our teams, who have been working tirelessly since Sunday to combat this forest fire, will remain on site until it is safe.”

Fire in Cannich

The effort to control the spread of the fire was praised.

At the height of the incident earlier this week, SFRS had nine devices and their crews on site. They were helped by workers on the estate including game warden, RSPB staff and helicopter gunships.

Two firefighters were injured during the operation after their all-terrain vehicle overturned. They were taken to the hospital and discharged after treatment.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said the bushfires posed a threat to life and the environment.

She said: “Thank you to all the firefighters and others fighting this fire.

“The weather and conditions at this time of year allow fires to start easily and spread quickly.

“The smallest fire can spread and devastate entire communities, hillsides, livestock, farmland, wildlife, protected lands and places of special interest.”

consequences of the fire

The fire affected a large area of ​​land near Cannich

In a tweet, wildfire analyst Dr. Thomas Smith, an associate professor at the London School of Economics, described a “monumental” effort to bring the fire under control.

Analysis of the latest satellite images available by Dr. Smith and others suggested that the damage covered a smaller area than previously thought.

Michael Bruce of Aberdeenshire-based Firebreak Services Ltd said a satellite used by the European Forest Fire Information System and the EU’s Copernicus program indicated that 2,426 acres (982 ha) were involved.

But he added that it could go as high as 2,718 acres (1,100 ha) because of hotspots outside the main fire area.

Bruce said: “It was a tremendously successful joint effort by SFRS and local landowners that were able to contain the fire to this size.

“It’s always difficult to establish the size of the fire quickly, with smoke and spread going on, and the focus of people on the ground is fighting the fire.”

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