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Fire crews from Lochboisdale, Benbecula and Bayhead in North Uist were called out to deal with a sweeping hillfire in South Uist last night (Monday 1 April).

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) teams were called to Askernish at 8.52pm, where they found a two-mile fire front burning about 100 metres from the road.

Crews tackled the immediate hazard using beaters, but were unable to venture far onto the rough ground of the hillside in darkness.

A small outbreak of fire to the rear of a property was extinguished separately as a precaution and officials from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks were also called on, due to concerns for overhead power lines.

An SFRS spokesperson said that firefighters left the scene around 2.20am and overnight rain helped contain the fire.

A new Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament on 21 March strictly regulates the use of muirburn – the controlled burning of vegetation on peatland.

At the time when it passed, agriculture minister Jim Fairlie MSP said: “People who live and work on our land have shown that muirburn, which is a key approach to helping manage wildfires, can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that protects biodiversity.”

Guidance from the SFRS says that those undertaking muirburn should have sufficient people in place to manage the burn, keep the size of the burn manageable, check wind speed and direction and ensure they have adequate fire breaks to prevent unwanted spread. 

The muirburn season runs from 1 October to 15 April.

Picture from Uist Sea Tours.