National park fire warning as dry weather continues

The Cairngorms National Park Authority is keen to avoid scenes like these.
The Cairngorms National Park Authority is keen to avoid scenes like these.

Visitors to the Cairngorms National Park are being warned about potential fire risks as the dry weather continues.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is urging both local people and visitors to “tread lightly”, a campaign focusing of five key areas of responsible outdoor access.

It covers camping and litter, outdoor cooking, toilets, fires and dogs but with prolonged dry and breezy conditions, the issue of lighting fires is of the utmost concern.

Fran Pothecary, the CNPA’s Outdoor Access officer, said: “The message is quite simple really – never light a fire during long dry spells of weather in any location but especially not in woodland or on peaty soil. We want people to enjoy the Cairngorms National Park and have a great holiday but not at the expense of our wildlife and the important habitats that support them.

“We all remember the fires that affected the west coast around Easter time, and are keen that the Cairngorms National Park avoids that devastation.”

Other things that people are asked to consider concerning fires are using a stove for cooking rather than an open fire and if using a foil BBQ tray, always place it on stones, shingle or sand. When finished, damp it down and take it away; never cut down trees or move deadwood for a fire as this is home to insects and other wildlife; report unattended or out of control fires immediately as time is critical; always heed high fire risk warning signs and the advice of rangers and land managers.

Eric Baird, head ranger with the Glen Tanar Charitable Trust, added: “Wildfire is dangerous and damaging, with people and nature put at risk. Right now, countryside rangers throughout the Park are working extra hard – with evening patrols, signage and information – to keep things safe. You can help too – let us know if you see anything untoward. If you are barbecuing, use river shingle. You won’t scorch the grass and can cool things down with river water when you are done.”

Further information is available online at cairngorms.co.uk/park-authority/outdoor/rights-resposibilities-guidelines/