Scottish fire service wildfire warning as peak risk period approaches

The Scottish Wildfire Forum is hoping to avoid scenes like this.
The Scottish Wildfire Forum is hoping to avoid scenes like this.

The new chairman of the Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWF) is reminding everyone of their responsibility to protect the countryside and environment from potentially devastating wildfires. Deputy Assistant Chief Officer (DACO) Andy Coueslant recently took over the chairmanship of the SWF from Assistant Chief Officer Robert Scott and he is keen to build on previous work to ensure a continued reduction in wildfire incidents.

The risk of wildfire is at its highest in the spring and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) will continue to work with landowners, tourists and communities to help reduce the number fires in a bid to protect the countryside and its residents.

The demand on SFRS resources during wildfire season is significant and it is hoped that raised awareness will help reduce that demand.

There are a number of proactive steps land managers can take to help prevent wildfires, including strict adherence to the Muirburn Code, which applies to the controlled burning of heather within the permitted season.

Many wild land fires are started deliberately or are due to careless, reckless or irresponsible behaviour. Anyone who sees someone acting suspiciously, recklessly or irresponsibly in the countryside should contact Police Scotland on 101 or pass information anonymously to Scotland Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Mr Coueslant said: “We want people to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire and we are urging communities, tourists and visitors to be aware of the heightened risk of wildfire at this time of year.”

SFRS want people to act responsibly in a countryside environment, such as properly disposing of smoking materials to prevent these fires happening in the first place. Land managers are also asked not to burn outwith the permitted season and ensure suitable fire plans are in place during land management operations.

Further advice about wildfires and what can be done to prevent them is available online at http://www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/wildfires.aspx