THERE is a “very high” risk of wildfire across east, central and southern Scotland, the fire service warned today.

With a build up of dead grass and heather left over from last year, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has issued the warning in many parts of the country until May 29.

People who live and work in, or visit, rural areas are being urged to exercise caution over the next few days, the service said.

Niall MacLennan, SFRS group commander, said: “Numerous wildfires across Scotland this spring – including a wildfire at Kinlochmoidart which spanned the course of three days – have shown how real the danger of fire is in the countryside and how damaging it can be to the environment, wildlife and nearby communities.

"With rising temperatures this weekend and further dry conditions into next week, wildfires could burn and spread with very high intensity in high-risk areas.

"Therefore, it is crucial that people act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors and please think twice before using anything involving a naked flame."

The very high warning was released in conjunction with the Scottish Wildfire Forum.