Gorse fire closes A7 near Galashiels

The A7 closure south of Galashiels. Picture: Traffic Scotland
The A7 closure south of Galashiels. Picture: Traffic Scotland
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The A7 road was closed for four hours today because of a gorse fire between Galashiels and Selkirk.

It was among the most disruptive of a series of wildfires across Scotland over the last week.

Traffic was diverted from the stretch between the Kingsknowes roundabout and Boleside, the Traffic Scotland driver information service reported.

The blaze involved 2,000 square feet of gorse and grass, which also threatened power cables.

ScottishPower cut off electricity supplies to 16 properties as a precaution because of fire below a power line.

Some 20 firefighters and four fire appliances from Galashiels, Selkirk, Hawick and Innerleithen tackled the blaze.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said the alarm was raised at 9:54am and the road was re-opened around 2pm.

A spokeswoman said: "Firefighters tackled a large gorse fire near A7 towards Selkirk.

"Crews used powerful water jets and beaters to tackle the flames, which affected an area of 100m by 20m.”

A spokesman for Amey, the company responsible for maintaining the road, said: "A request was received from Police Scotland to provide a closure and diversion route at the A7 Kingknowes roundabout due to a gorse fire breaking out adjacent to the carriageway.

"There was concern the fire would spread to the nearby tree line, creating a further hazard.

A ScottishPower spokesman said: "We switched a line off temporarily for safety reasons as there was a fire beneath it.

The line isn’t damaged and supplies to 16 properties were switched back on shortly after 2pm."

The fire was at least the eighth major such incident in the past six days.

Other outbreaks in the dry but windy conditions have been near Pitlochry, Lochinver, Oykel, North Kessock, Glen Etive, the Ochil Hills and Harburn in West Lothian.

Fire chiefs said wildfires could burn for days, devastating vast areas of land and killing wildlife.