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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Arthur's Seat 'charred' by blaze
Pump at St Margaret's Loch
Firefighters used a pump to take water from St Margaret's Loch
Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water were used to douse the flames of a huge fire which burned for almost 24 hours on Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh.

Firefighters used a suction pump to pipe water from St Margaret's Loch onto the 3,000 square metre site of burning gorse near the Scottish Parliament.

The fire, which started on 1300 BST on Monday was still smoking by Tuesday, left a black hillside behind.

Fire officials said it had been a serious fire.

It was very difficult conditions for the firefighters because we had to use one kilometre of hose reel when each hose is only 25 metres long and very heavy
Keith Dargo
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue

Dozens of firefighters used beaters to keep the fire at bay while others fired hoses at the burning gorse, which witnesses said was producing 10ft high flames.

Keith Dargo, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue group manager, said it was still unclear what had caused the blaze.

He said: "This was a very difficult fire because it covered such a large rural area. The recent dry weather had made the vegetation tinder dry which meant the fire moved quickly and easily.

"At the scene we had to asses the direction of the wind and its speed so that we could intercept where it was moving to.

"It was travelling towards the top of the hill so we positioned beaters in front of it."

Arthur's Seat
The fire affected the north side of Arthur's Seat

He added: "It was very hot and very smoky up there and we had to ask members of the public to keep off the hillside because they would have had difficulty if the wind direction had changed.

"It was very difficult conditions for the firefighters because we had to use one kilometre of hose reel when each hose is only 25 metres long and very heavy."

He said crews would be at the scene until at least the end of Tuesday.

Two firefighters carrying hose reel up the hill were injured after they mistakenly disturbed a wasps' nest and were covered in stings.

At the height of the blaze members of the public were able to see plumes of smoke from as far as Burntisland in Fife.

Water was also taken from a nearby water hydrant.




SEE ALSO
Fire crews still at blaze scene
08 Aug 06 |  Edinburgh and East

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