With the risk of wildfires rated as ‘very high’ and ‘extreme’ in Scotland this Friday and into the weekend, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has urged the public to take the utmost care in the countryside.
The weather pattern over the next few days – dominated by low-pressure, warm air to the south and cold air to the north and low humidity in the Southwest increases the risk.
The warning applies from today, Friday 10 March and lasts until Saturday 11 March.
South West Scotland. Risk rating – EXTREME until 11 March
Central-Eastern Scotland. Risk rating – VERY HIGH until 11 March
At this time of year, in early March, there is a lot of dead grass and heather left over from last year which can dry very quickly due to a combination of frost, low relative humidity, sunshine and wind and when ignited, acts as fuel which can spread wildfires over a wide area.
Many wildfires are started deliberately or are due to careless, reckless or irresponsible behaviour and that risk peaks during early Spring.
People who live, work or are visiting rural areas, in particular, are being urged to exercise the utmost caution to avoid fires breaking out.
SFRS recently launched its new prevention campaign called ‘Care for your Countryside’.
SFRS Station Commander, John Harvey said: “Over the next few days while this wildfire warning is in place, we urge people to act safely and responsibly in the countryside.
“Wildfires have devastating effects on our countryside and are extremely damaging to the environment, wildlife and nearby communities.
“With dry, winter conditions this weekend, wildfires could burn and spread with very high intensity in high-risk areas.
“Therefore, we are asking people to act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors, dispose of cigarettes carefully and please think twice before using anything involving a naked flame.”