Scottish wildfire warning: Public urged to follow guidance with extreme wildfire warning issued for parts of Scotland

A forestry group is urging members of the public to take extra precaution in rural areas as an extreme wildfire warning as been put in place.

The extreme warning has been issued for today, 23 March, through to Thursday this week for the north and northeast of Scotland following a spell of recent dry weather, low humidity and high winds.

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is urging all members of the public to observe the current wildfire prevention guidance to avoid putting emergency services under unnecessary pressure.

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Simon Hodgson, chief executive of FLS, said: “We continue to welcome locals to our forests but ask everyone to follow current government and NHS advice.

Extreme wildfire warning in place following spell of dry weather and high winds picture: Scott J MacLucas-Paton

“Right now everyone should take extra care and be aware of the heightened fire risk and 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.”

He explained that many wildfires are avoidable and are often the result of irresponsible behaviour including discarding cigarettes, littering or lighting campfires or barbecues in the wrong places. The impact can be devastating as wildfires have the potential to burn for days and ruin vast areas of land and wildlife.

They can also pose a huge threat to those trying to put them out and nearby communities.

SFRS Area Commander Bruce Farquharson said: "We are asking the public to exercise extreme caution and think twice before using anything involving a naked flame.

"Many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires, which can cause significant 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.

"These fires can also have a hugely negative impact on the environment and the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

"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 always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code."

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