A Cairngorms community has hit out aftr at least 10 fires were lit around Loch Morlich last night.
The fires were lit on the beach, with others reported throughout the Cairngorms – after the fire service specifically asked people not to light fires amidst a wildfire warning.
Fires were visible on the Loch Morlich webcam last night, and shared on social media.
This week crews battled fires at Cannich in the Highlands for more than eight days.
On the Aviemore and Spey Valley Community Issues Forum page on Facebook, residents vented their fury at the sheer number of fires lit by campers and revellers.
Last night, forum member Paul Peat said: “High fire risk.
“Six fires visible from the Loch Morlich Watersports Webcam plus four more in the opposite direction on the other side of the loch.
Loch Morlich fires
“It’s quite clear that despite the signs, the message is not getting through and I fear without intervention that it’s only a matter of time before a large forest fire breaks out considering the very dry conditions we have had recently.”
One local resident told The P&J that fires are lit after staff in the area go home at 8pm.
Not wanting to be named, he said: “Four fires were still lit this morning, with no one near them.
“It is now time for a complete ban. I saw one man with a 50-gallon drum in the Loch Morlich car park last night and it was filled to the top.
“It is our homes and livelihoods, people constantly come here and abuse our local area.”
He continued: “Education has not worked and it is time for a complete change.
“It is time to ban camping altogether on Loch Morlich. The weakened approach by the authorities to camping in the area is not helping at all.
“It is time for a complete ban.”
Councillor Bill Lobban, who represents the area for Highland Council, said: “The irresponsible behaviour of a small number of people, and let’s be honest in comparison to the huge number of visitors who arrive here all summer long it is a small number, are ruining it for the majority.
“The sort of idiot who lights a fire in the middle of of a drought is beyond comprehension.”
He continued: “In Badenoch and Strathspey we have an almost exclusively tourist economy. We need people to come here.
“What we don’t need are the morons who trash our beauty spots and leave their smouldering fires, litter and human excrement all over the place.
“Only by good grace and sheer luck have we not seen a devastating wildfire.”
He continued: “All the public authorities and in particular landowner Forestry and Land Scotland need to get their act together and produce a solution immediately before the unthinkable happens”
Local residents walked the beach this morning, sharing pictures of the fires still smouldering, as campers slept nearby.
Responding to the picture, readers shared their outrage, urging people to report fires to the police, and the fire service.
“The more calls they receive, the more likely we will see a response.”
Another woman wrote: “Why do people turn into morons when the weather gets nice? Maybe they’d like us to do the same in their back garden!”
One man raised concerns about the impact of the sheer volume of fires on the environment.
He wrote: “The white sand at Morar is turning grey with ashes from fires and is becoming a problem of it will happen at the loch.”
Wake up every one of them
Another man said: “I hope you woke up every one of them.”
This week the fire service put out a statement saying even the smallest fire can spread.
A “very high” warning for an increased risk of wildfires is in place until today, Saturday June 10.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) warned that many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires, which can cause significant environmental and economic damage.
Station Commander John Harvey said: “Wild and grass fires can start by the careless disposal of cigarettes and barbecues or campfires left unattended.
“They then have the potential to burn for days and devastate vast areas of land, wildlife and threaten the welfare of nearby communities.”
Forestry and Land Scotland has been asked to comment.