Wildfires rage on Bute

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.
Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

A series of wildfires hit the north side of the island last Friday, damaging a large area of moorland and forestry, raising fears about the impact on local birds.

Ian Hopkins from Rothesay, told the Buteman: “This is the third large, uncontrolled fire in this area in the last four years, which would suggest it is hardly accidental.

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

“It is also, by far the largest. I would estimate that roughly one-fifth of the island was affected, including the North Bute Site of Special Scientific Interest. This designation is mainly because it contains the best examples of upland habitats and upland oak woodland on the island.

“Together, these habitats support a wide variety of breeding birds, with up to 70 species recorded.

“Some of these species like Hen Harrier, Merlin, and Short-eared Owl require long, rank heather to nest in.

“This now all looks like an ash desert. No doubt nature will eventually restore it, but it will take years to bring it back to what it was. However, it will never recover if we keep having these uncontrolled fires!”

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said it was alerted to a fire at Balmakailly Hill at 2.36pm on Friday, adding: “Two appliances and crews extinguished the fire before leaving the scene at 4.57pm. There were no casualties.”

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.

Wildfires on the north end of Bute. Photo by Ted Leeming, Leeming + Paterson Photography.