THERE is a “very high” risk of wildfires across large parts of Scotland this weekend, fire chiefs warned.

People looking to enjoy rural environments as the coronavirus restrictions are being eased, are being asked to exercise extreme caution.

The warning form the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service comes after several weeks of dry weather.

The “very high” risk wildfire warning is in place until Monday, June 1.

Area Commander Bruce Farquharson, who also chairs the Scottish Wildfire Forum, said: “While we appreciate that many people will seek to enjoy the outdoors during this spell of good weather this weekend, we urge everyone to make sure that they don’t increase the chance of wildfire.

“We have had very little rain over the past two months, and a large volume of dead, bone-dry vegetation remains left over from last year – which essentially acts as a fuel for fire.

“As a result, there are currently vast areas of countryside all over the country that is tinder dry and vulnerable and has all of the ingredients for fire to take hold and spread.

“We are asking the public to exercise extreme caution and think twice before using anything involving a naked flame, such as disposable barbecues or campfires.”

A spate of wildfires could place unnecessary pressure on emergency services while they work with partners to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Area Commander Farquharson added: “We would always stress the importance of being vigilant in areas of countryside, but right now we are in a unique and testing period for all emergency services.

“Large wildfires require huge resources to bring under control and this has the potential to then impact on our entire structure across Scotland.”