Landowners are being asked to apply responsible land management in the face of heightened fire risks due to the recent hot, dry weather.

The advice from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate follows reports of a number of incidents of uncontrolled and illegal muirburn that have occurred across the Outer Hebrides in recent weeks.

SNH’s David MacLennan said: “Moorland throughout the Western Isles provides important and extensive habitat for wildlife at this time of year, especially for groundnesting birds. Any wildfire spreading across this landscape will have a devastating effect on many species such as merlin, dunlin and golden plover, which by now should be nesting among the heather.”

For details of the muirburn code, visit www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/04/08154231/0.