Edinburgh fire: Huge blaze ravages Calton Hill as thick smoke spews from beloved landmark

Estimated read time 3 min read

The bush fire is reported to have broken out at the Old Royal High School on Calton Hill with smoke seen rising from behind the building. Shocked eyewitnesses have taken to social media with one Twitter user commenting: “Big bush fire on CaltonHill Edinburgh right now – avoid!”

Fellow Twiter user Emma said: “Hope everyone is okay!”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is in attendance and has sent four fire engines to the scene.

Firefighters arrived at Calton Hill just after 3.15pm.

Calton Hill is home to the Collective contemporary art gallery and Scotland’s unfinished National Monument, inspired by the Parthenon in Athens.

It is also the site of the Nelson Monument which is shaped like an upside down telescope. The monument commemorates the death of Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Video from nearby shows flames and smoke rolling up the hill with one onlooker saying the hillside has been dry with rain only falling on Saturday.

Police Scotland have been at the scene helping to manage routes around the blaze as firefighters from Scottish Fire and Rescure Service fight the flames.

A Police Scotland spokesman said the force was called at 3.40pm today (June 26).

Smoke has been billowing across the city centre and down Leith Walk, according to reports.



News of the fire in the Scottish capital comes after 15 fire engines and about 100 firefighters tackled a grass fire near Turle Road in Norbury, south London today.

Seven hectares of wasteland, shrubs and school playing fields were alight with around 35 houses affected by the fire. Nineteen residents were evacuated as a precaution.

There are currently no reports of any injuries. Crews were expected to remain on scene this afternoon. London Fire Brigade’s 999 control officers took more than 100 calls to the blaze.

Station Commander Keith Sanders, who was at the scene, said: “Firefighters worked hard to bring the fire under control and checked local properties and gardens for fire spread. The fire produced heavy smoke in the area and the direction of the wind was blowing smoke towards local terraced houses. We encouraged people to avoid the area and asked local residents to keep windows and doors closed.”

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The brigade was called at 12.27pm and the blaze was under control by 4.08pm. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the London Fire Brigade and London’s Metropolitan Police Service.

A number of fire warnings have been issued across Edinburgh recently due to dry and mild conditions making the risk of a blaze likely.

Pentland Hills rangers had issued a message to locals to avoid barbecues and other lit materials on the hillside on Saturday after a small fire struck the site.

The rangers said: “Please do not light fires on our sites this weekend: the ground and wind conditions mean that there is a severe risk of wildfire.” 

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