Arthur’s Seat ablaze amid wildfire warning

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Media captionThe emergency services were alerted at about lunchtime on Sunday

About 30 firefighters are tackling a large grass fire on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

Paths up the hill were closed by park rangers after the emergency services were alerted to the blaze close to the summit at about 13:40.

Fire chiefs in Scotland have warned of an increased risk of wildfires, following a series of blazes across the country.

On Saturday crews tackled a large heather fire in Caithness

Nine fire engines were sent to the blaze at Mobster Croft in the Spittal area after the alarm was raised shortly before midday.

Firefighters spent more than six hours tackling the wildfire.

Image copyright Balintore Fire Station
Image caption Crew from Balintore fire station were among firefighters called to tackle a wildfire near Mey in Caithness on Friday.

And in Argyll on Saturday the A85 near Dalmally was closed by a wildfire for several hours.

The fire was on both sides of the road at Glenlochy.

The previous day crews had been called to a wildfire near Mey villaage in Caithness.

Fire chiefs warned that discarded cigarettes and unattended barbecues or campfires can start fires which burn for days and devastate vast areas of land

Bruce Farquharson, an area manager with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, urged the public to play their part in preventing further fires.

“Right now, many firefighters across Scotland are actively tackling wildfires, working to protect our communities and their efforts have to be commended,” he said.

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

Mr Farquharson, who is also the chairman of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, urged people to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

He added: “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.”

Image copyright John MacDonald
Image caption Crews from across Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross have been mobilised to tackle wildfires over the last two days

Scottish Natural Heritage said there was a danger of fires in the north east, south east and central Scotland, especially between 16 and 24 May.

Its recreation and tourism manager, Mark Wrightham, said: “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.”



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