A BLAZE that stretched across more than 600m of grassland between Barrhill and Newton Stewart, yesterday afternoon, took fire crews over five hours to tackle. 

The three-foot high flames sparked at 1.20pm could have had serious consequences for the nearby forrest but was brought under control by the 15 on scene fire crews around 6.30pm. 

The incident is not thought to have been deliberately started but Scottish Fire and Rescue Service say they need the public’s help to reduce the number of wildfires that do strike.

Dry conditions at this time of year can easily result in wildfires that damage the environment, devastate wildlife habitat and threaten homes and businesses.

The public can help prevent wildfires by making sure they dispose of litter and smoking materials carefully while in rural areas.

There are a number of things land managers can do to help prevent wildfires, including strict adherence to the Muirburn Code, which applies to the controlled burning of heather within the permitted season.

Anyone who sees someone acting suspiciously, recklessly or irresponsibly in the countryside should contact Police Scotland on 101.

Information can also be passed anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Further advice is available on the Your Safety section of the SFRS website, www.firescotland.gov.uk, where links can be found to both the Muirburn Code and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.