Wildfire warning issued as more than 30 firefighters tackle Caithness blaze

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Public urged to enjoy the warm weather responsibly as firefighters across Scotland tackle wildfires


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The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is urging the public to be aware of an increased wildfire risk this weekend.

A warning for an increased risk of wildfires is in place across Scotland until Sunday, May 20.

This comes as more than 30 firefighters are currently tackling a large wildfire in the Spittal area of Caithness.

Operations Control mobilised nine fire engines to the scene at Mybster Croft after the alarm was raised at 11.42am this morning.

Crews currently remain on the scene, and now members of the public are being urged to play their part in preventing further potentially devastating fires.

Area Manager Bruce Farquharson is Chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum.

He said: "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.

“Wild and grass fires can start by the careless disposal of cigarettes and barbecues or campfires left unattended.

“They then have the potential to burn for days and devastate vast areas of land, wildlife and threaten the welfare of nearby communities.

“Many rural and remote communities, such as those in the Highland area, 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.

"Just one heat source like a campfire ember can cause it to ignite and if the wind changes direction even the smallest fire can spread uncontrollably and devastate entire hillsides."

The SFRS works closely with land managers, communities and other safety partners to prevent these incidents ever occurring.

AM Farquharson continued: “Right now, many firefighters across Scotland are actively tackling wildfires, working to protect our communities and their efforts have to be commended.

“However, many of these fires are preventable, and we again urge people to read our safety advice, and enjoy the weather responsibly.”

For further advice and information about wildfires and how to prevent them visit: /your-safety/wildfires.aspx or www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/