Moray firefighters appeal for responsible use of countryside this summer

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Emergency services in the Moray area are issuing an urgent warning after attending more than 40 fires in the local countryside.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in partnership with Forestry and Land Scotland and Police Scotland are holding an event at Roseisle Forest to urge the public to use the countryside responsibly this summer after a spate of fires across the Moray area in the last month.

BBQ Fire PitDuring a four-week period recently firefighters attended 42 fires in the open at Roseisle Forest and other areas of countryside across the region.

An Outdoor Fire Safety event will take place on Saturday, 7 August 2021 where members of the public will be being reminded of the dangers of barbecues and camp fires. This follows a successful event last month attended by several hundred people, including visitors to the area.

Fire appliances and other specialist vehicles and equipment including an all-terrain vehicle and water carrier will be on show between 10.00am and 3.00pm and visitors will learn how to stay safe and enjoy the outdoors this summer.

Watch Commander Gareth Luce of Elgin Fire Station said: "Last summer the Moray area recorded one of the highest increases in Scotland for grass fires when we saw the number more than double from the previous year. Already this year we are experiencing a high number of fires in the open. The combination of good weather and more people holidaying at home is playing a part in this increase and we need visitors to the countryside to understand the impact of their actions.

“We are asking people to make sure campfires and barbecues are lit in a fire safe pit or container, are always attended, and are fully extinguished before leaving.  Smokers are reminded to extinguish cigarettes and dispose of them.

“Just one ember can start a fire which has the potential to burn for days and can be devastating for communities, wildlife and farmland and at the same time places a strain on emergency services.

“Human behaviour can significantly lower the chance of a fire starting, and we are asking visitors to this forest and the other areas of countryside across Moray to always follow onsite signage, to act safely and responsibly in the outdoors, and always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.”

More information on fire safety and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code is available from https://www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot/practical-guide-all/camping/lighting-fires

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