A very high risk wildfire warning has been issued in Scotland leading to calls for the public to “exercise extreme caution.”
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) issued the warning for this weekend (Saturday, July 24 until Monday, July 26) and is urging people who live within or who may enter rural environments to exercise caution.
The alert – released in conjunction with the Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWF) – covers Easter Ross, central Highlands, and south-west Scotland. A moderate to high warning is also in place for central and western Scotland.
Wildfires have the potential to burn for days and devastate vast areas of land and wildlife; and threaten the welfare of nearby communities.
Deputy assistant chief officer Alasdair Perry is head of prevention and protection for SFRS.
He said: “We are asking the public to exercise extreme caution and think twice before using anything involving a naked flame.
“Many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires, which can cause significant damage.
“Livestock, farmland, wildlife, protected woodland and sites of special scientific interest can all be devastated by these fires – as can the lives of people living and working in rural communities.
“These fires can also have a hugely negative impact on the environment and the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
“Human behaviour can significantly lower the chance of a wildfire starting, so it is crucial that people act safely and responsibly in rural environments, and always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.”
In February, firefighters battled a wildfire near Fort George army barracks in the Highlands.
The fire broke out amongst gorse and whins grass.
Fifteen firefighters were called to tackle the blaze, which was near the rifle ranges used by army personnel from Fort George, near Ardesier.
The fire took hold in the Glenmore Forest Park near Aviemore, sending thick white plumes of smoke over the hills across the loch.