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Fire risk warning for walkers and campers

Thursday 17th May 2018, 11:00am

Walkers and campers are being urged to be particularly careful with campfires, cigarette disposal, and throw-away barbecues this weekend.

There is currently a fire danger warning in place in the north east, south east and central Scotland, with very high fire danger conditions from now until 24 May, says Scottish Natural Heritage.

Mark Wrightham, SNH’s Recreation & Tourism Manager, said: “It’s great news that the recent warm, dry weather is encouraging more people to get out and about and enjoy our beautiful Scottish countryside. But it’s important to bear in mind that fires can spread quickly in these conditions and do lasting damage to nature and wildlife.

“In this weather, we advise people to be careful when lighting fires, or consider using a camping stove instead. Be particularly cautious when disposing of cigarettes – even a cigarette butt can easily start a wildfire.

“One of the biggest risks is disposable barbecues. These should be taken away and disposed of safely in a bin. You may think the barbecue’s no longer a risk, but the lingering heat could cause vegetation to smoulder and catch fire.

“A few simple tips can make all the difference in making sure as many people as possible can enjoy our countryside safely.” 

SNH advice is:

·         Whenever possible, use a stove rather than light an open fire.

·         If you do light a fire, keep it small and under control, and remove all traces before leaving. Avoid lighting them during prolonged dry periods or in forests, woods, farmland, peaty ground or near to buildings as fires that get out of control can cause major damage.

·         When using a disposable barbeque, put it on a heat-proof surface, such as sand or stones before you light it. Make sure the barbeque is cold before you take it away with the rest of your rubbish.

·         Dispose of cigarette butts in bins.

More advice is available from the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Read more about Mountaineering Scotland’s own advice on wild camping.

Campfire photo credit: SNH-Lorne Gill