A WILDFIRE which has torn through 3000 hectares of land and left two firefighters badly injured near Cannich demonstrates how the Highlands are on the front line of the climate crisis, the Scottish Greens have said.
The fire at Cannich, in the hills above Loch Ness in the Highlands, is now in its fourth day with four fire engines and specialist resources remaining on scene.
Satellite images from Nasa show the plume of smoke from the blaze drifting towards the loch on Monday amid clear skies.
Helicopters are being used to waterbomb the area and members of the public have been warned not to walk their dogs there as a safety precaution.
The Highland region has been the epicentre of the UK’s largest wildfires in recent years with the region suffering around 360 recorded wildfires between 2017 and 2022 alone, according to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service data.
The largest such fire on record in the UK was between Melvich and Strathey in May 2019.
Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Ariane Burgess, added: “The Highlands and Islands are amazing landscapes which many of us are proud to be able to call home. They attract visitors from all over.
"But amid a worsening climate disaster this natural beauty brings very real dangers. Conditions are such that even the smallest of things can have a massive, massive impact.
“We only need to look at countries like France, Spain, Italy and Greece, or further afield to the likes of California, to see the devastation caused by wildfires and the impact it has on communities consumed and displaced by them.
“How we manage this, what we do to prepare, and what preventative actions we can take in mitigating these increasingly frequent occurrences is something I have raised as being a priority before and will continue to do so. For example, how healthy restored peatlands can act as natural fire breaks, or what some of the potential causes such as muirburn are.
“The Highlands are on the front line of the climate crisis, make no mistake. Our habitats and our land use, our size and geography, and our place as the jewel in Scotland’s natural crown means what we do here is of vital importance.
“I am seeking assurances from Government colleagues so we can work together to keep our local populations safe, and look after our region however we can."
The two firefighters injured in an accident in their all-terrain vehicle have now been released from hospital after being airlifted from the scene on Tuesday morning.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said an investigation is ongoing into the incident.