Communities warn of ‘devastating’ fire risk in Moray woods

Warning of fire party dangers in Moray woods
Warning of fire party dangers in Moray woods

MORAY COMMUNITY LEADERS have been expressing their fears over party-goers using local wooded areas and beauty spots to celebrate – leaving behind their rubbish and debris.

Some residents in Cullen are particularly concerned about fires being set in forest areas and left to burn themselves out, with no care for the dangers that creates.

People visiting Burghead Woods in recent weeks have also been finding piles of broken glass, debris and even fires still burning – the remnants of party goers using the area before leaving it abandoned.

Similar and worse scenes have been seen on the Seafield Estate near Cullen, where the remnants of another late-night party bonfire party had local community leaders warning of the “devastation” that could be caused.  Local councillors have been highlighting the issue at both areas, with Keith and Cullen councillor Ron Shepherd insisting that it should be “common sense” for people not to start fires in wooded areas.

He said: “The ground in there is so peaty it would not take much for the whole place to go up – if the Crannoch went up in flames it would be catastrophic. There is such a lot of wildlife in there, and so many local people frequent the woods – their lives could be at risk.”

Adding that the wood was the “cornerstone of the community”, Councillor Shepherd added: “I would urge residents to remain vigilant to safeguard our wood and report any incidents they may discover and so stamp out this business once and for all.”

Following visits to Burghead Woods, Heldon & Laich Councillor Chris Tuke has posted similar images of the remnants of parties being held where fires were set and left to burn themselves out.

On a recent visit he discovered a large amount of broken glass around a fire that was still burning the morning after the area had been used for a party. He said: “This is anti-social and thoughtless – other people use these woods as well.”

In the most recent incident a parent did return to help clear up, with Councillor Tuke adding: “A responsible parent of one of the party-goers had already gathered most of the debris together and four boys arrived to help finish the job – but it would be better for all if the place was left tidy in the first place.

“I urge people not to throw glass bottles in fires or to light fires outside the cleared area.”