Experts have warned parts of the Scottish countryside are at “extreme” risk of wildfires during the current yellow weather warning, despite sub-zero conditions.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said that the weather pattern over the next few days – dominated by low-pressure, warm air to the south and cold air to the north and low humidity in the southwest – will increase the risk.
The warning is in place from Friday, March 10 to Saturday, March 11, with an “extreme risk” in southwest Scotland, and “very high risk” in central-eastern Scotland.
At this time of year, in early March, there is a lot of dead grass and heather left over from last year which can dry very quickly due to a combination of frost, low relative humidity, sunshine and wind.
When ignited, it can act as fuel which can spread wildfires over a wide area.
Many wildfires are started deliberately or are due to careless, reckless or irresponsible behaviour and that risk peaks during early spring.
People who live, work or are visiting rural areas, in particular, have been urged to exercise the utmost caution to avoid fires breaking out.
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.”