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Fight fire with funding, Labour MSP says as wildfires sweep across the Highlands

SCOTTISH MSPs have demanded that cuts to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) be reversed as wildfires sweep across the Scottish Highlands.

Firefighters, allied emergency services and local volunteers have been battling huge blazes across the north and east of the country, some of which were visible from Nasa satellites. 

Ariane Burgess, Green MSP for Highlands and Islands, paid tribute to those fighting the wildfires.

She said: “This isn’t just a crisis, it is climate chaos, and I want to thank all those who have responded to these major incidents from the bottom of my heart.

“They are now on the front line of the new normal, and we must ensure they have all the resources they need.”

However, the SNP-Green Scottish government has come under fire from the FBU in recent weeks over SFRS proposals to “mothball”  fire engines, specialist equipment, and delete 200 firefighter roles — adding to the 1,100 lost since the creation of the service.

FBU Scottish regional secretary John McKenzie said: “To protect our members and combat the increasing risks of climate change, we require modern workplaces, with fit-for-purpose decontamination facilities, the equipment required to resolve these incidents and an end to the last decade of savage cuts.”

After attending the FBU anti-cuts rally in Dundee on Monday, Scottish Labour MSP Mercedes Villalba tabled a motion at the Scottish Parliament demanding that proposed cuts be axed and for “immediate and sustained funding to prevent further cuts.”

She told the Star: “The upsurge in wildfires across Scotland and the world demonstrates the increasingly urgent need to combat climate change.

“But simply recognising the symptoms of climate change is not enough, we must act now to prevent climate chaos.

“That starts with priority investment in our vital public services, not cuts.

“We must fight fire with funding.”

SFRS was contacted for comment.

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