WATCH: Video released of past campfire damage in Wester Ross beauty spot, amid active extreme wildfire warning for Highlands and Islands
Get the Ross-shire Journal sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
VIDEO of wildfire damage at a Wester Ross beauty spot and nature reserve has been released in a bid to warn the public to avoid a repeat.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has issued a severe wildfire warning for swathes of the Highlands this weekend – including parts of Ross-shire.
And, in a bid to remind the public of the dangers, NatureScot has released footage of the damage a campfire did in the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve last year.
It has urged people seeking to travel this weekend "not to light any fires and take care with cigarettes and disposable barbecues".
The warning coincides with an easing of Covid travel restrictions, with many people expected to take advantage of recent sunny weather to enjoy day trips this weekend.
A NatureScot spokesman said: "This video from our Beinn Eighe reserve last year shows the damage a camp fire can do, burning into the peat and spreading.
"There's an extreme risk of fire at the moment, follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and never light open fires in these conditions.
Stewart Pritchard, a nature reserves senior adviser with NatureScot, added: “After what has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone, it is great news that people will once again be able to travel to enjoy our great outdoors and we’re looking forward to welcoming people back to our beautiful National Nature Reserves.
“We want people to enjoy their visits but with extreme wildfire warnings in place it’s vital to bear in mind that fires spread quickly in these conditions and devastate nature and wildlife.
“The Scottish Outdoor Access Code states never to light open fires in these conditions as fires that get out of control cause major damage. We would also urge people to be extremely cautious when disposing of cigarettes – even a cigarette butt can easily start a wildfire.
“One of the biggest risks is disposable barbecues. These should be left to cool and taken away and disposed of safely along with all other rubbish. You may think the barbecue is no longer a risk, but the lingering heat could cause vegetation to smoulder and catch fire.
“When out and about this weekend please follow the code and respect, protect and enjoy our wonderful countryside.”