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The end of the Muirburn season in Scotland comes in the middle of a new warning of extreme risk of wildfire for parts of the Western Isles.

In the warning, issued today (Tuesday), the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service warned that a very high to extreme wildfire risk is in place from today until Saturday 17 April, especially focussed on the west coast.

Most of Lewis and Harris is identified as being at high risk, with parts of North and South Uist and Barra at extreme risk of wildfire.

They said: “This may cause challenges when associated with the Muirburn activities carried out at this time of year.”

Muirburn season ends on 15 April and is subject to stringent guidance on safe practice, which can be found here

https://www.nature.scot/guidance-management-moorland-muirburn-code

Speaking as the wildfire risk warning was issued today, Western Isles group commander for SFRS, Dougie Campbell, said: “The recent spell of extremely cold and windy weather has left moorland and grassland dessicated and tinder dry, creating extremely dangerous conditions for the uncontrolled spread of fire.

“It’s of the first concern to us that we do not have to compromise anyone’s safety by deploying firefighters to manage out-of-control hill and moor fires, especially if that could impact on our ability to respond to other emergencies, threatening lives, property and livestock.

“We are urging landowners and crofters to remember that wildfires create a huge strain on our resources, especially at a time when our firefighters are working within Covid restrictions and doing their best to support the islands’ response to the pandemic.”

The last episode of wildfires in the Western Isles came during cold, windy conditions in February, when fires burnt out of control across the islands for a number of days.

Pictures show the risk map of Scotland issued today (SFRS) and images of wildfires in Balallan (SFRS) and on Eaval in South Uist (Wild Things Uist) taken in February this year.