Firefighters in Moray are teaming up with forestry officials to warn of the dangers of flames in woodland during the summer.
Wildfires have been common occurrences in the region during warm and dry spells in recent years.
Now warnings have been issued to take precautions as visits to beauty spots increase as the weather improves and Covid restrictions ease.
‘Just one ember can start a fire’
The coastline between Findhorn and Buckie has been the scene to countless wildfires in recent years.
Some have burned for days as emergency crews have battled to control the flames while they are fanned by breezes.
Watch Commander Gareth Luce, who is based at Elgin fire station, said it is essential to take precautions with campfires, barbecues and cigarettes.
He said: “Just one ember can start a fire which has the potential to burn for days and can be devastating for communities, wildlife and farmland and at the same time places a strain on emergency services.
“Human behaviour can significantly lower the chance of a fire starting, and we are asking visitors to this forest and the others across Moray to always follow onsite signage, to act safely and responsibly in the outdoors, and always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.”
Specialist equipment to go on show
The fire service has organised an event for Saturday, June 19 to showcase the equipment it uses to deal with forest fires.
Specialist resources, including a new all-terrain vehicle and water carrier, will be on display at Roseisle Forest between 10am and 3.30pm.
Crews will also be giving advice about how to remain safe in rural beauty spots through the summer.
Fiona Robertson, Forestry and Land Scotland’s area visitor services manager, said: “Moray has a wealth of forests to enjoy and at a time when lots of people are having a staycation we want these forests to remain safe and be enjoyed by all.
“But we share the same safety concerns as our colleagues in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and encourage visitors to heed their advice.
“We want people to enjoy our beauty spots, by acting responsibly and avoiding unnecessary risks.”