Barbecue warning after Lothian summer grass and woodland fires surged by 169 per cent in 2018
Summer grass and woodland fires in the Lothians increased by a massive 169 per cent last year.
There were 509 vegetation blazes reported in Edinburgh City, East Lothian, Midlothian and Scottish Borders and Falkirk and West Lothian in just two months.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are warning of the dangers of wild fires as the hot weather continues, and asking people to be careful when they are out enjoying the countryside.
Barbecues or bonfires should always be in a fire pit or container and completely put out before being left. Any ashes should not be thrown away until they have cooled down.
Assistant chief officer Ross Haggart said: “Huge swathes of land can be left ravaged by these fires, which can spread easily through high winds.
“But communities can help us. That’s why we are appealing to people to take great care – it is crucial that people act safely and responsibly in rural environments and follow the countryside code.
“Just one heat source, like a campfire ember, can cause it to ignite, and if the wind changes direction even the smallest fire can spread uncontrollably and devastate entire hillsides. People can help us by making sure they dispose of litter and smoking materials carefully while in rural areas.”
On Friday, the hot spell continued across Scotland, with the record temperature recorded in the north west Highlands.
Edinburgh City saw 147 fires, up from 65 in 2017, while East Lothian, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders had 111, up from 61 and Falkirk and West Lothian had 251, up from 63.
The heat wave across Europe continues, as many families head off on holiday at the start of the school break. Hot Saharan winds have brought scorching weather with temperatures in some parts exceeding 40c.
More than half of France is on alert for high temperatures, while in Germany rescue services urged people to look out for young children, the elderly and others at risk in hot conditions.
Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond said: “Friday has 30C possible in Scotland's Highlands. Heat from Africa could challenge all-time records across Europe, including France's 44.1C temperature record, with the mid-40s possible in France and Spain."