Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston is urging local people and visitors to be especially vigilant about the risk of wildfires after fire crews were called out to tackle a blaze at Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park.
Mr Halcro Johnston, who was species champion for the capercaillie during the last session of the Scottish Parliament, said: “News of this fire, close to some of our most important ancient Caledonian pine woodlands, should act as a warning to anyone thinking of visiting the Cairngorms National Park or indeed any of our wild or remote areas across the Highlands and Islands."
“Our region, as well as being a wonderful place to visit, is home to many of Scotland’s most iconic species, including the endangered capercaillie which breeds exclusively in the pine woodland in this part of Scotland. Wildfires, especially after a sustained period of dry weather like the one we are currently experiencing, represent a clear and present danger to these precious habitats, and to the vulnerable wildlife that is dependent on it."
“They can also threaten homes and businesses, and put an extra strain on our emergency services and local volunteers who have the extremely challenging and often dangerous task of dealing with them. We all have a responsibility of care and consideration for the areas that we visit and that includes avoiding any risk of inadvertently causing wildfires."
“This latest incident really should be a reminder to everyone of just how vulnerable some of our most special places are.”