SCOTLAND'S wildfire risk is "exceptionally high", gamekeepers have warned the public.

The caution comes after a spate of blazes in England, including one thought to have been sparked by a barbecue on Bamford Moor in Derbyshire’s Peak District on Saturday evening.

Local gamekeepers used their own specialist equipment to tackle the flames until fire services arrived.

In April, crews were sent to the hills behind Clydebank after a blaze there generated massive plumes of smoke visible from across the Glasgow area.

The National:

In the past quarter, wildfires have also broken out at Glenfeshie in the Highlands, Strathpeffer in Rossshire and in Stirlingshire, near Bannockburn.

It's feared that discarded cigarettes, bottles and other items left behind by members of the public will increase the already heightened risk posed by the hot weather.

Scottish Land & Estates, which represents landowners, says its members are reporting more "careless behaviour" than ever before.

Tim Baynes, moorland director at Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Each year we are witnessing more and more wildfires occurring on moorland and grassland and this period of exceptionally hot weather in the UK has heightened the risk once again.

“These fires often occur by innocuous means such as discarded cigarettes and disposable barbecues and we need to ensure the correct precautions are taken by those accessing hills and moors. Sadly, those managing rural land have found more careless behaviour occurring since lockdown rather than less.

“Wildfires not only create a safety risk for all of us but are also devastating for wildlife, particularly for ground nesting birds, insects and mammals. We would urge the public to take care and leave items such as barbecues at home."