Wildfires in NW Scotland not caused by muirburn

IMG-20130328-00010Wildfires raged across the north and west of Scotland from the beginning of April to the end of the muirburn season on 15th April, putting the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service under enormous pressure.  Estates with their own fire-fighting equipment were on standby to help.

It became apparent that these were mainly as a result of farmers’ and crofters’ grass burning fires getting out of control as well as carelessness by access takers and at least one case of malicious fire raising.   Despite what was implied in some of the media, these fires were not caused by muirburn on grouse moors; indeed there are very few grouse left in the north and west of Scotland.

There have been no wildfires in central and eastern Scotland where the grouse moors are located, partly due to the late snow cover which made it too wet to do any burning at all.  The late snow  could actually be a good thing for grouse prospects this year because a hard winter is likely to encourage the grouse to breed more strongly, as was seen 2-3 years ago.


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