Keeping an eye out keeps fire out

NO FIRES (however small!)

We have had an extraordinarily dry few weeks this Easter. Lack of rain, coupled with high temperatures and strong winds mean that we are only one misplaced BBQ, a casually tossed aside cigarette or one careless campfire away from a forest or moorland fire catastrophe. The forest and the peat that lies underneath is like a tinderbox. Lighting anything is dangerous – there is no such thing as lighting just a small fire. This danger will continue until the ground is thoroughly soaked.

Head Ranger Matthew putting out the High Fire Risk signs

During the summer months, and in times of high fire risk like just now, the Rangers and indeed whole Rothiemurchus team are on high alert – patrolling frequently, often into the evenings, on call, and definitely losing sleep with worry about the very real risks that these dry conditions pose to this special area.

So far we have been lucky, and it has been great to welcome thousands of happy holidaymakers and visitors through Rothiemurchus at this time of year and to see you all enjoying this special place responsibly. This continued responsible enjoyment is essential over the coming weeks and months as we move into summer.

Whatever time of year, you should always follow the advice of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which says “Never light an open fire during prolonged dry periods or in areas such as forests, woods, farmland, or on peaty ground or near to buildings or in cultural heritage sites where damage can be easily caused.”

Rothiemurchus Rangers are helping to safeguard some of the most important natural heritage in Scotland and we need your help. There is an extreme risk of severe fires developing.  As we have seen in the recent fires in Moray, the Isle of Bute and Marsden Moor, if the beautiful, ancient forest was to catch alight, the consequences for our wildlife and visitors as well as to the health and livelihoods of many thousands of people living in the this area would be serious and long lasting.

Thank you

Many of the fire sites the Rangers clear up are pointed out by members of the public. We are very grateful to the local community, as well as visitors from further afield, for helping make sure Rothiemurchus remains one of the most beautiful, wild and enjoyable places for people to visit and wildlife to thrive.

What to do if you see a fire

If you spot a fire, however small, call 999 immediately.

Please also let our Countryside Rangers (or any member of staff) know about any extinguished fire sites you come across.

Fire Brigade: 999

Rothiemurchus Centre (daily 9.30 am – 5.30 pm): 01479 812345

Duty Ranger (daily 9.00 am – 5.30 pm): 07887 648675

Please remember to leave no trace – take all rubbish home with you and do not light fires.