Recent weather raises risk of wildfires across Highlands, Islands and Aberdeenshire

The wildfire warning is in place across patches of the north and north-east. Image: Jacob King/PA Wire.
The wildfire warning is in place across patches of the north and north-east. Image: Jacob King/PA Wire.

Amid a blast of snowy weather, the fire service has issued its first wildfire warning this year.

Residents across parts of the Highlands, Islands and Aberdeenshire have been issued with two “extreme” and “very high” warnings of wildfires today.

It follows a week of wintry conditions and yellow weather warnings across much of the region which continue to be in place until Sunday at 6am.

The higher risk of wildfires is due to a weather pattern of low-pressure, low humidity in the south-west, warm air in the south and cold air in the north.

Also there is a large amount of dead grass and heather left over from last year.

These can dry very quickly due to the combination of frost, low humidity, sunshine and wind which can act as a combustible fuel for wildfires.

‘Think twice before using a naked flame’

The warning affects parts of the Highlands on the west coast and patches near Inverness and Tain. It also impacts south of Aberdeenshire and some of the Hebrides.

Residents living or travelling to rural areas are urged to take the most care to avoid fires breaking out.

During early Spring, the risk is higher of wildfires being started deliberately or due to careless or irresponsible behaviour.

As a result, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has recently launched a new prevention campaign called Care for your Countryside.

SFRS station commander, John Harvey, said: “Over the next few days while this wildfire warning is in place, we urge people to act safely and responsibly in the countryside.

“Wildfires have devastating effects on our countryside and are extremely damaging to the environment, wildlife and nearby communities.

“With dry, winter conditions this weekend, wildfires could burn and spread with very high intensity in high-risk areas.

“Therefore, we are asking people to act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors, dispose of cigarettes carefully and please think twice before using anything involving a naked flame.”

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