The summer holidays are now well underway and for once, the weather has been cooperating! The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is encouraging locals and visitors alike to enjoy the Park this summer but to do so with great care, asking everyone to ensure they ‘tread lightly’ in this special place.
The CNPA’s ‘Tread Lightly’ campaign focuses on five key areas of responsible outdoor access covering camping and litter, outdoor cooking, toilets, fires, and dogs but with prolonged dry spells and breezy conditions, it’s the issue of lighting fires that is of the utmost concern at the moment.
Fran Pothecary, the CNPA’s Outdoor Access Officer explained: “The message is quite simple really – never light a fire during long dry spells of weather in any location but especially not in woodland or on peaty soil. We want people to enjoy the Cairngorms National Park and have a great holiday but not at the expense of our wildlife and the important habitats that support them. We all remember the fires that affected the west coast around Easter time, and are keen that the Cairngorms National Park avoids that devastation.”
Other things that people are asked to consider concerning fires are:
- Using a stove for cooking rather than an open fire and if using a foil BBQ tray, always place it on stones, shingle or sand. When finished, damp it down and take it away.
- Never cut down trees or move deadwood for a fire – this is home to insects and other wildlife!
- Do report unattended or out of control fires immediately – time is critical.
- And finally, always heed high fire risk warning signs and the advice of rangers and land managers
Duncan Macdonald, Highland Council Countryside Ranger said: “Rangers are out and about every day keeping a close eye on weather and ground conditions. Many visitors to the countryside love a fire as part of their outdoor experience but in this continuing dry weather, we are asking people not to light them apart from where permitted in designated areas and official campsites.”
Eric Baird, Head Ranger with Glen Tanar Charitable Trust, on Deeside added: “Wildfire is dangerous and damaging, with people and nature put at risk. Right now, countryside rangers throughout the Park are working extra hard – with evening patrols, signage and information – to keep things safe. You can help too – let us know if you see anything untoward. If you are BBQ’ing, use river shingle, that way, you won’t scorch the grass, and can cool things down with river water when you are done.”
For more information on enjoying the Cairngorms National Park responsibly please go to: https://cairngorms.co.uk/park-authority/outdoor/rights-resposibilities-guidelines/