PEOPLE hoping to visit National Nature Reserves this weekend have been advised by a leading nature agency to be aware of the risk of fire.
The advice comes following an announcement from the Scottish Fire and Rescue services earlier this week warning of a high to extreme risk of wildfire across parts of Scotland until April 17th.
Visitors to nature reserves are being asked not to light fires and take care with cigarettes and disposable barbecues.
Areas with a very high to extreme risk of wildfire include North-East, East and Central Scotland and an extreme risk of fire warning has been issued across Western Scotland.
Stewart Pritchard, Nature Reserves Senior Adviser with NatureScot, said: “After what has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone, it is great news that people will once again be able to travel to enjoy our great outdoors and we’re looking forward to welcoming people back to our beautiful National Nature Reserves.
“We want people to enjoy their visits but with extreme wildfire warnings in place it’s vital to bear in mind that fires spread quickly in these conditions and devastate nature and wildlife.
“The Scottish Outdoor Access Code states never to light open fires in these conditions as fires that get out of control cause major damage.
“We would also urge people to be extremely 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 left to cool and taken away and disposed of safely along with all other rubbish. You may think the barbecue is no longer a risk, but the lingering heat could cause vegetation to smoulder and catch fire.
“When out and about this weekend please follow the code and respect, protect and enjoy our wonderful countryside.”