FIREFIGHTERS in areas of Scotland most likely to be affected by wildfires have received special training in a drive to combat the blazes.

More than 200 wildfires in one week stretched the fire service across part of the West Highlands last year and a series of measures have been implemented to ensure crews are prepared to deal with incidents this year.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service assistant chief officer Robert Scott, chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWFF), has appointed a full-time senior manager, who will be responsible for looking into all aspects of wildfire management. A working group made up of senior fire officers from various departments has also been set up.

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Mr Scott hopes this will raise awareness, encourage responsibility, improve firefighter safety and reduce demand on SFRS resources during wildfire season.

Last year the SWFF launched the UK's only Wildfire Operational Guidance Manual, commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Mr Scott said: "We have committed significant resources to training a number of senior officers to an advanced level to ensure we have subject matter experts available across the country to attend and control wildfire incidents."

Drew McFarlane-Slack, Highland regional manager for Scottish Land and Estates, said: "We value the opportunity to work in partnership with the SFRS. We can pool our resources and experience in a bid to reduce the number of wildfires, which have a damaging effect on our environment."