Fire and rescue services across Scotland have urged landowners and the public to be extra vigilant during this period of exceptionally dry weather following two major grassland fires in Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders in the last few days.
Landowners have been urged to consult the Muirburn Code before planning any burning – the deadline is 15 April – and are advised to go ahead only when weather conditions are suitable and there are sufficient personnel to supervise, manage and control the fire.
The landowners’ organisation, Scottish Land & Estates has also published an information sheet, aimed at minimising the impact of wildfire and advising on the prevention and response strategies appropriate for rural areas
Almost 50 firefighters battled a grassland fire at St Mary’s Loch in the Borders after weeks of dry weather left the heather and grassland tinder dry.
In Dumfries and Galloway the blaze spread across a front of 1km-2km and there were suggestions that a spark from an area of controlled burning could have started the fire.
A spokeman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: “Gorse and grass fires are unpredictable and can get out of control and spread rapidly.
“This makes for a challenging job for firefighters trying to get the fire under control and anticipate potential spread. It can also be physically arduous for crews fighting the blaze on foot.”