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Call for public education campaign on fire dangers after Cannich and Daviot blazes

By John Davidson

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The aftermath of the Cannich wildfire. Picture: Callum Mackay
The aftermath of the Cannich wildfire. Picture: Callum Mackay

A plea to launch a campaign to educate local people and visitors to the Highlands about the dangers of wildfires will be made to the council.

Green councillors will call for an immediate fire safety publicity campaign involving Highland Council, police and the fire service as well as tourist attractions and accommodation providers.

Chris Balance, the Green member for Aird and Loch Ness – which includes the site of the devastating wildfire at Cannich earlier this month – said that the countryside is still "tinderbox dry" after the recent heatwave.

He said: "This year, more than ever, it is imperative that we impress on tourists, visitors and locals the dangers of fire in the countryside.

“It’s not just camp fires – there’s evidence that the Cannich fire was started by a small camping gas stove. There is a real danger to property and life – the Daviot fire reached up to people’s back gardens, and two firefighters were injured tackling the Cannich fire.

“We have dry undergrowth on peat – and once peat starts to burn it can smoulder for days, and fire can then spread very quickly.

"With climate change, the danger of fire is only going to get worse year on year. We have to redouble our efforts to inform the public of the dangers."

The Greens will call on council leaders to instigate the public education campaign at the full meeting of the local authority on Thursday. They want it to include social media, posters and signs throughout the Highlands, particularly at tourist accommodation and attractions.

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