Warning of increased wildfire risk

The Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWF) is raising awareness about the increased risk of wildfire across most parts of Scotland over the next few days - as weather forecasters predict very dry conditions.

Vice chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, Michael Bruce, monitors the European Commission’s European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

This provides vital information which can be used to inform the public about the risk of wildfire.

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He said: “At the start of spring there is often a lot of dead vegetation leftover from last year.

“This fuel can dry out quickly when there is overnight frost, followed by sunny days with higher temperatures and lower humidity levels.

“We have a high pressure weather system developing across Scotland creating these conditions at the moment.”

It is now the time of year when the risk of wildfire is at its highest and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is already working closely with land managers and appealing to tourists and communities to help reduce the number fires in a bid to protect the countryside and its residents.

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SFRS Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Andy Coueslant is chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum.

The senior officer said: “Raising awareness is key to reducing the risk.

“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.

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“Human behaviour can significantly lower the chance of a wildfire starting so it’s crucial people act safely and responsibly in rural environments and follow the countryside code.”

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

The SFRS website has a link to the Muirburn Code and there is more advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code