UK heatwave: 'Very high' warning issued for wildfires in eastern and southern Scotland

A warning has been issued for wildfires across southern and eastern Scotland, with the risk rated ‘very high” as the country swelters amid a fresh heatwave.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) issued the alert through until Monday, warning there was a ‘very high’ threat of wildfires and for members of the public to report any blazes immediately.

The advice was issued with temperatures in Edinburgh expected to peak at 27C on Thursday and reach the same maximum temperature in Glasgow across Saturday and Sunday.

Temperatures climbed towards 35C south of the Border on Wednesday as parts of the UK faced water shortages and fires ahead of a new heatwave.

Dried mud and old trees at Colliford Lake, where water levels have severely dropped exposing the unseen trees and rocks at Cornwall's largest lake and reservoir, as another heatwave looms. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

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People have been urged to create a 10m safety zone around their properties in areas covered by the SFRS warning to help protect them if a blaze starts, and remove any old cars, wood piles, felled trees and other debris.

Bruce Farquharson, depute assistant chief officer with SFRS, said: “The next six days will bring a prolonged period of high temperatures and that means the risk of wildfires breaking out increases.

“Our crews will be ready to respond to every emergency to protect our communities.

“But there are simple steps that we can all take when we are spending time outdoors to prevent vast damage to the environment and protect emergency service workers from attending avoidable incidents.

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“Please exercise the utmost caution and avoid lighting fires outdoors but if you must, check for restrictions or permissions required by the landowner and make sure you use a fire safe pit or container that can be properly extinguished before you leave.”

A Met Office amber warning for extreme heat comes into force for parts of England and Wales from Thursday until Sunday.

There is also a heat health alert in place from the UK Health Security Agency, with experts advising people to look out for those who are older or with existing health conditions, as well as young children.

It comes as months of low rainfall and hot spells have left parts of the UK facing drought, prompting hosepipe bans and warnings on the impact on agriculture, rivers and wildlife.

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Thames Water has had to supply bottled water for residents of the village of Northend in Oxfordshire, and pump water into the network, after supplies were disrupted due to what it said was a technical issue at Stokenchurch Reservoir in Oxfordshire.

The firm later said it had managed to “improve the situation” and all customers in the nearby area should now have water, but it warned pressure could be lower than normal.

“We’re continuing to use tankers to pump water into the local supply network and working on other ways to boost supplies to the area,” it said.

It comes after the company, which supplies water to 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley, became the latest water firm to signal it will bring in a hosepipe ban in the face of the hot, dry summer.

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Three other water companies – South East, Southern and Welsh Water – have announced hosepipe bans for customers in areas they supply.