Gamekeepers have been praised for helping bring a croft fire under control on Tuesday evening, close to the site of last year’s devastating wildfire in Sutherland.

The keepers, from the Bighouse, Skelpic, Achentoul and Shurrery estates, acted swiftly, mobilising leaf blowing equipment and fire beaters shortly after spotting smoke rising from whin bushes on a croft.

The gamekeepers were co-ordinated by Bighouse estate staff using radio and phone communication and were on-site with members of the local community before the fire could spread. Flames from whins fanned out onto rank heather in wind and, without timely intervention, could have caused more serious damage.

Fire engines from Dornoch arrived to assist the local fire crew, gamekeepers and residents.

Scottish Gamekeepers Association chairman, Alex Hogg, said: “Well done to the fire crews, residents and the gamekeepers for their swift actions, especially as this was nothing to do with the gamekeepers' estates.

"Last Wednesday, when Green MSP Andy Wightman’s amendment to the Coronavirus Bill at Holyrood outlawed muirburn during the lockdown, we said that SGA members would still answer the call to help the frontline services at wildfires, utilising their skills and equipment for public good at this time," added Mr Hogg.

“They put their own personal safety aside to turn out, as they have often done. We are pleased to work closely with the fire service and reiterate that our members will assist, wherever required.”


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