Estate owners have warned that wildfires in the Highlands will be more intense and difficult to control if preventive measures aren’t taken.
With more rural estates moving from agricultural provisions to rewilding lands, fears have arisen that changes could spell disaster as greenery could heighten wildfire risk.
The changes could result in higher fuel loads and fewer farmers managing the land.
And, if “surface fuels” such as heather, grass and bracken go unchecked, the fires could spiral out of control.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Michael Bruce, owner of the Glen Tanar estate in Aberdeenshire and vice chairman of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, said: “We are absorbing more fuel hazard and it’s likely climate change will increase the fire risks and the number of days each year when damaging fires could occur.”
Livestock on land across the north and north-east are being removed from hills, and there are proposals to regulate muirburn, the burning of moorland.
The warnings come after a report filed by the UN that estimates a 50 per cent rise in wildfires around the world within the next 80 years.