ROSS WELCOMES ENGAGEMENT WITH FIRE SERVICE AHEAD OF DEBRIEF MEETING THIS WEEK

Moray Conservative MP Douglas Ross, said he is reassured by a response he has received from Martin Blunden, the Chief Fire Officer of the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, in relation to a letter which he had forwarded relative to various concerns from local constituents about recent wildfires in Moray. A multi-agency debrief will be held in Elgin on Thursday the 30th of May and the Moray MPs questions will form part of this discussion with the Chief Officer promising to rectify any problems that are identified. Douglas said:

“It goes without saying that if it were not for the massive effort by the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and the many volunteers, including estate workers, farmers and others, that these fires, which were unprecedented in their scale and for how long they burned, would have caused even more damage than they did.

“However it’s also important that we learn from these events to better equip everyone should there be wildfires in the future. I’ve been in contact with the Chief Fire Officer and Scottish Natural Heritage as concerns were shared with me about the time it took for helicopters to arrive and assist with the efforts. While these were requested by an estate rather than the fire service, there does seem to have been some communication issues which delayed their deployment from the responses I’ve received to my enquiries.

“I welcome that these will be fully discussed and hopefully addressed at the debrief meeting being held this week and I look forward to hearing the outcomes and learning how we can all work together to reduce the chance of further wildfires and to provide all the resources required to the dedicated and committed people who battle these wildfires in the future.

“I am meeting local residents at the site of the fires on Friday and want to ensure we hear from as many people as possible as we tackle this problem and hopefully better prepare ourselves for any future wildfires.”