SFRS issues wildfire warning
30 March 2018
North West Scotland, the Western Isles and Argyllshire all face an increased risk of wildfires this week.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is urging the public to be aware of an increased wildfire risk this week.
Dry and windy weather has increased the risk of wildfire in North West Scotland, the Western Isles and in Argyllshire.
In conjunction with the Scottish Wildfire Forum, the Service has issued a public warning which will be in place from today until Wednesday April 4.
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.
SFRS Area Manager Bruce Farquharson is the chair of the Scotish Wildfire Forum.
He said: "Many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires, which can cause significant environmental and economic 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.
"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 follow the countryside code.
"Grass and wildfires are a common risk at this time of year when warmer weather dries out vegetation – especially dead winter foliage – which offers an ample fuel source.
"Just one heat source like a campfire ember can cause it to ignite and if the wind changes direction even the smallest fire can spread uncontrollably and devastate entire hillsides."
The SFRS works closely with land managers, communities and other safety partners to prevent these incidents ever occurring.
Area Manager Farquharson continued: "At the start of spring there is often a lot of dead vegetation leftover from last year - this fuel can dry out quickly with higher temperatures and lower humidity levels.
"A great many people will be enjoying the outdoors in the good weather this weekend, we urge everyone to make sure that they don’t increase the chance of wildfire – be aware of the risks and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
"Wildfires are a major threat to our wildlife and wild places. We encourage people visiting the outdoors to be extra careful, and check the advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before starting a fire.
"The public can help prevent wildfires by making sure they dispose of litter and smoking materials carefully while in rural areas."
For further advice and information about wildfires and how to prevent them visit:
www.firescotland.gov.uk or www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/