FIREFIGHTERS battled for five hours to save a forest from a wildfire blazing nearby.

The crews tackled three foot high flames across 600m of grassland between Barrhill, in south Ayrshire, and Newton Stewart, in Dumfries and Galloway.

Around 15 firefighters used handheld beaters and a high pressure jet to extinguish the flames yesterday afternoon and prevent it from spreading to the forest.

Crews arrived shortly before 1.20pm and left at 6.30pm.

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said the fire was not believed to have been deliberately started but warned about the risk of dry conditions causing wild fires.

He said the public can help prevent fires by making sure they dispose of litter and cigarette ends when in rural areas.