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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 April, 2003, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Forest fires continue to rage
Forest fire at Darvel in Ayrshire
Firefighres have been using helicopters to water-bomb blazes
Firefighters in the Highlands are battling to control several forest fires, some of which have been burning since Thursday.

Crews across the country are hoping for rain as resources are stretched to the limit.

Parts of the Ardnamurchan peninsula on the west coast are still well alight despite the efforts of firefighters over the last three days.

The blaze covers an area of more than 45 square kilometres (28 square miles).

'Exhausting conditions'

Crews have been brought in from up to 50 miles away, and are being supported by local volunteers and estate workers.

Highlands and Islands Fire Brigade assistant firemaster Hugh Henny said it was proving difficult to control because of the remoteness and the terrain.

He said the firefighters, many of whom are reserved or auxiliary crew, have been working in "exhausting conditions".

Another difficulty is the lack of water supplies to tackle the remote forest and moorland fires.

It is a very difficult task the firefighters face on the ground.
Hugh Henny
Highlands assistant firemaster

"That is why we rely heavily at this point in time on helicopter water-bombing," Mr Henry said.

"We back that up with men on the ground who after the water-bombing run has been undertaken follow up with beaters to try to knock the fire down in that way.

"So it is a very difficult task the firefighters face on the ground."

Elsewhere, a major heather and grassfire was burning close to Palacerigg Country Park near Cumbernauld.

The flames were being fanned by the wind and smoke could be seen for miles around.

Several hundred people were forced to leave a fun day at the park as the fire came close to its outer edges and some animals had to be moved to safety

Fires are still burning at Barvas in the Western Isles and at Brig O' Turk near Callander.

In Ayrshire, a fire near Darvel has been extinguished, although crews are continuing to monitor the situation.

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19 Apr 03  |  Scotland

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