East Lothian Council Countryside Rangers are advising against campfires and BBQs at coastal beauty spots and open spaces.

A prolonged period of largely dry weather means there is currently a higher than normal risk of fire.

The advice from the Countryside Rangers follows a dune fire at Gullane Bents on Monday. While the fire was quickly brought under control thanks to the swift response of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, it is believed to have possibly started after someone tipped hot fire coals into the dunes.

The Countryside Rangers have urged anyone who does light a campfire or BBQ to ensure that – when safe to do so – fires are small, kept under control and are on the beach only whilst well away from any dunes. When finished the fire should be extinguished completely with water (not sand) and any trace of the fire removed before leaving.

Councillor Colin McGinn, Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing and Sport, Countryside and Leisure, has backed the advice from the Countryside Rangers.

He said:

“We’ve had some good weather recently and, quite rightly, many people are keen to make the most of this and enjoy the great outdoors. There is, unfortunately, a heightened risk of fire in these weather conditions. With everyone’s safety in mind, the advice from the Countryside Rangers highlights the importance of respecting and enjoying the local environment safely and responsibly.”

As the summer season continues, East Lothian Council will continue to operate its multi-agency management group looking closely at visitor safety in and around the county’s coast and beauty spots. New land management rules, introduced last year, are focused on promoting the responsible use of countryside, parks, nature reserves and greenspaces. These were introduced as a result of increased visitor numbers following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published: Tuesday, 21st June 2022