Arthur’s Seat at risk of wildfire during Easter Weekend mini-heatwave

Scotland’s fire service has warned of increased risk of wildfires over the Easter weekend.

The blaze at Arthur#s Seat earlier in the year. Pic: SWNS
The blaze at Arthur#s Seat earlier in the year. Pic: SWNS

Members of the public are being urged to act responsibly to help prevent wildfires by taking care with bonfires, smoking and disposing of litter.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) warned of a heightened risk of wildfire until Saturday, with Arthur’s Seat having already been at the centre of a major incident this year.

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The warning follows several wildfires across the country in the past week, including one at Durness, Sutherland, leading to properties being evacuated.

A forest fire at Dalmellington in Ayrshire took three days to put out while a blaze near Aberlour, Morayshire, took firefighters two days to get under control due to high winds.

SFRS area manager Bruce Farquharson, Scottish Wildfire Forum chairman, said: “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.

“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.”

In February, dozens of firefighters tackled a blaze on Arthur’s Seat which destroyed about 800 square metres of gorse, including the habitat of a rare moth.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer has urged people to be aware of what they are drinking over the Easter weekend, with research suggesting many remain confused about alcohol content.

A study carried out as part of the Count 14 campaign indicated almost three-quarters (72%) of people in Scotland were unable to identify the correct units in beers, wines and spirits.

Dr Catherine Calderwood “The 14-unit guideline equates to six pints of medium strength beer, lager or cider, seven double measures of spirits or six medium glasses of wine over the course of a week.

“By continuing to raise awareness of alcohol units, the hope is that people will make informed choices.”