Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Firefighters tackle large wildfire near West Calder

wildfire Image copyright Dunblane Fire Station

Firefighters are tackling an extensive wildfire in West Lothian.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said a large area of grassland was alight at Harburn, near West Calder.

Crews were initially called to the blaze at 13:00 on Friday.

A spokeswoman said the fire was not putting any buildings or roads at risk. One crew held a "watching brief" at the scene overnight, but there have been six appliances at the blaze since daylight.

The incident came as the fire and rescue service issued a warning about an increased risk of wildfires this weekend.

It said dry and windy weather had already caused incidents near Lochinver in Sutherland, where 12 sq km was burned, and the Ochil Hills, near Stirling.

Countryside code

Deputy assistant chief officer Andy Coueslant said: "Many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires, which can cause significant environmental and economic damage.

"Livestock, farmland, wildlife, protected woodland and sites of special scientific interest can all be devastated by these fires - as can the lives of people living and working in rural communities.

"Human behaviour can significantly lower the chance of a wildfire starting so it's crucial people act safely and responsibly in rural environments and follow the countryside code."

Wildfires can start when cigarettes are disposed of carelessly, or when barbecues and campfires are left unattended.

They are common when warmer weather dries out vegetation - especially dead winter foliage- which offers an ample fuel source.

Susan Davies, director of conservation at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, added: "Wildfires are a major threat to our wildlife and wild places.

"We'd like to encourage people visiting the outdoors to be extra careful, and check the advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before starting a fire."

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