Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and Cairngorms National Park are advising people enjoying the great outdoors this Easter to be aware of the risk of fire.
With dry and warm weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend, visitors to Scotland’s outdoors, including National Parks and National Nature Reserves (NNRs), are asked to take extra care with camping stoves, cigarettes and throw-away barbecues.
The joint message follows a fire danger warning for high and increasing risk conditions across much of Scotland from 17-20 April, with high or extreme fire danger across most of the country by Easter Saturday.
Graham Sullivan, SNH uplands advisor, said: “The forecast looks promising for a warm, dry Easter weekend which is great news for encouraging more people to get out and about in our stunning parks and nature reserves.
“We want people to enjoy their visits but it’s important to bear in mind that fires can spread quickly in these conditions and do lasting damage to nature and wildlife.
“When there is a high fire risk, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code advises people not to light open fires and to use a camping stove instead. We would urge people to be particularly cautious when disposing of cigarettes – even a cigarette butt or the smallest of embers left from a campfire can easily start a wildfire.
“One of the biggest risks is disposable barbecues. These should be taken away and disposed of safely. 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.”
Simon Jones, Director of Conservation and Visitor Operations at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “Sadly, over the years we’ve seen fires causing damage to some of the National Park’s iconic landscapes such as Conic Hill and as recently as last weekend on the island of Inchcailloch, part of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve.
“It’s particularly at this time of year when the fire risk can be really high because dead vegetation and wood from last year is still lying on the ground. Warm, dry weather can then turn it into tinder which very easily catches fire.
“While campfires and barbecues can seem like a fun and innocent way to enjoy the outdoors, fires can get out of control and spread very quickly, causing devastating damage.
“Please help prevent wildfires this Easter. If you are in grassy or wooded areas of the National Park we strongly advise against having campfires and barbecues.”
David Clyne, Cairngorms National Park Authority Recreation and Access Manager, said: “Over the last week we have witnessed the devastating impact of wildfires across Scotland.
“If you’re visiting the Cairngorms National Park over the Easter holidays, please don’t light a fire in woodlands or on peaty soil.
“Follow the outdoor access code, tread lightly and enjoy yourself.”
Our advice is:
– Never light an open fire during prolonged dry periods, as fires that get out of control can cause major damage; use a stove instead.
– 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 safely.
More advice is available from the Scottish Outdoor Access Code