SNH is­sues wild­fire warning and guide­lines

The Oban Times - - OUTDOORS -

SCOT­TISH Nat­u­ral Her­itage is warning peo­ple about the dan­gers of wild­fires.

Burn­ing heather moor­land or rough graz­ing in spring is a tra­di­tional land man­age­ment prac­tice that has been used for gen­er­a­tions to pro­mote new growth to im­prove graz­ing.

How­ever SNH has is­sued a re­minder about the po­ten­tial dan­gers of un­con­trolled burn­ing, which can dam­age prop­er­ties, con­ser­va­tion sites and harm nest­ing birds and re­duce bio­di­ver­sity.

Wild­fires are also costly and time- con­sum­ing to con­trol, tak­ing up valu­able time and re­sources from the Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice.

There­fore, says SNH, the Muir­burn code, leg­is­la­tion gov­ern­ing such burn­ing, must be strictly ad­hered to, with burn­ings only per­mit­ted be­tween Oc­to­ber 1 and April 15.

The code rec­om­mends no­ti­fy­ing neigh­bours of any planned burn­ing by and also the fire and res­cue ser­vice on 01382 835804 – phone the pre­vi­ous evening or on the morn­ing of the day of burn­ing.

Fires should also not ex­ceed 50m/165ft wide or burn up­hill or on slopes.

Sites tra­di­tion­ally used by spe­cially-pro­tected bird species or blan­keted in fog should also be avoided.

Keith Dun­can, SNH op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer based in Aviemore, who also has a role with wildlife crime said: ‘Out- of- con­trol fires have dam­aged habi­tats on Sites of Spe­cial Sci­en­tific In­ter­est in Lochaber.

‘As well as be­ing a wildlife crime, it can take many years for some of these im­por­tant habi­tats to re­cover and dur­ing that time spoil peo­ple’s en­joy­ment of these spe­cial places.’

PC Hugo Martin who is based in Mal­laig and whose role in­cludes wildlife crime said: ‘Out- of- con­trol fires on moor­land may cause safety is­sues for sur­round­ing homes and vil­lages as well as pro­tected species of wildlife. I urge all peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for Muir­burn­ing to have ad­e­quate staff to safely man­age their fires and closely fol­low the Muir­burn code.’

If you see or sus­pect some­one act­ing sus­pi­ciously, reck­lessly or ir­re­spon­si­bly in the coun­try­side, con­tact Po­lice Scot­land on 101 or you can pass in­for­ma­tion anony­mously to Scot­land Crimestop­pers on 0800 555111.

SNH has is­sued a warning about wild­fires, such as this one in Glen Ne­vis in 2013. Pho­to­graph: Iain Fer­gu­son, The Write Image.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.