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Wildfires hit Scottish Highlands

April 3, 2013 at 1:14 AM

INVERNESS, Scotland, April 3 (UPI) -- Nearly 200 fires have charred the Scottish Highlands in recent days, stretching firefighters to the limit, officials say.

The largest fire was reported at 4 p.m. Monday in Banavie, north of Fort William, and extinguished after an all-night battle, The Scotsman reported. At its height, the fire line was 3 miles long.

Many of the 175 blazes reported in the past week are "muirburns" that got out of control, officials say. In the muirburn, landowners set controlled fires in the spring to remove old vegetation and make way for new growth on the moors, improving grazing for sheep and reducing the number of ticks.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service warned landowners Monday they could face prosecution if they violate regulations and a wildfire results. Officials also warned hikers the danger of fire is currently high.

There were several major fires in the Highlands Tuesday and others in the Hebrides, including two on the Isle of Skye.

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