A spate of wildfires has prompted fire and forestry bodies to warn people to avoid putting the emergency services under unnecessary pressure.
Firefighting teams have tackled a series of outbreaks across Scotland, including ten in the last two weeks on land managed by FLS.
Earlier this month five fire crews spent several hours tackling a wildfire covering an area of 600 metres by 600 metres near Tarvie in Ross-shire.
In another incident at Pitfichie, near Alford, nine fire appliances were initially called to a blaze. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and FLS staff attended the next two days and when a visit was made on a fourth day they saw a party of 20 people on site having a party and barbeque.
A hill fire at Clashindarroch in Aberdeenshire was extinguished by firefighters before it affected a forest, while another fire was extinguished before it reached a FLS holding at Hallyburton, between Coupar Angus and Dundee.
Simon Hodgson, Chief Executive of Forestry and Land Scotland, said; “These avoidable incidents, which are often the result of irresponsible, thoughtless behaviour, are drawing emergency services into situations often for considerable periods of time.
“We would strongly urge everyone to follow current government and NHS advice, stay local and only visit a forest that they can get to on foot, by cycling or by wheelchair.
“And when you arrive please be extra vigilant and do not carry out any activity that might risk starting a wildfire. Helping to prevent wildfires also prevents undue demands being made on our blue light services – and could also save lives.”
Bruce Farquharson, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Area Commander and chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, said traditionally this is a period when there is a high volume of large wildfires.”
He said during a challenging period for the emergency services wildfires can draw huge resources.
“While we continue to maintain a high resilience across Scotland, we would seek to avoid any unnecessary demand on our service.”
He said while social distancing has reduced numbers in the countryside, the threat of wildfire remains and urged people to act safely and responsibly.
Helicopter pilot Andrew Hutchinson, who has helped tackle wildfires, added: “As with everyone else, we would much rather that these incidents did not happen and that all the resources put in to dealing with wildfires could be put to other uses.”