Recovering from the Corrimony wildfire – one year on

In May 2023 a shocking wildfire ripped through our Corrimony nature reserve. One year on, take a look at the progress we’ve made to recover the area, thanks to your support.

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Smoke clouds rising up from the wildfire across RSPB Corrimony.
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On the last weekend of May 2023, a catastrophic wildfire began in the Highlands near Cannich to the southwest of Inverness. 

An exceptional dry spell with hot and sunny weather over a few weeks allowed the blaze to become established, and unfortunately it spread rapidly, including onto our Corrimony nature reserve

Set in stunning moorland and Caledonian forest, Corrimony is a treasure trove for anyone who loves birds, and hosts species ranging from Black Grouse, Scottish Crossbills and,- Crested Tits to soaring Golden Eagles in the wider Glen Affric area. 

Corrimony fire revisit

Woodland habitat destroyed

Tragically, the fire ripped through the nature reserve and burned for many days – despite staff from Corrimony and nearby forest reserves, multiple fire crews, helicopter teams, neighbouring landowners and others working round the clock to extinguish the blaze. Unfortunately, the fire destroyed great swathes of precious habitat, undoing 20 years of careful woodland restoration. Much of the habitat had been restored and expanded over the last two decades using natural regeneration through deer management, and the planting of mixed native species. 

The fire also destroyed a vital deer fence, enabling the animals access to the nature reserve, where they began to graze on any surviving saplings. It was a an extremely challenging time for reserve staff and wider teams to see the effort they had put in over many years being rewound. 

Green shoots of recovery

Following an appeal for help, RSPB members, supporters and philanthropists sprang into action. Thanks to their generous gifts of over £200,000, as well as substantial support from Barratt Homes and Trees for Life, we have been able to set about restoring the habitat.

Over the past year we have re-erected the deer fencing, and in early spring 2024 we began planting saplings to replace those destroyed. We have also purchased specialist fire management equipment to ensure that we are able to respond quickly both on our own and neighbouring lands should a wildfire occur again. Climate change and hotter drier summers mean that such incidents are sadly likely to be more frequent across the Highlands in coming years. 

Already the green shoots of recovery can be seen, and many of the species for which Corrimony is so well known have returned to breed. None of this would be possible without the support of our members and others who so generously gave to the appeal. Thank you. 

How you can prevent wildfire outbreaks this summer

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