THE fire service is warning that there is a very high risk of wildfires across parts of Scotland over the next few days.

People are being urged to exercise “extreme caution” and think twice about doing anything involving a naked flame while in rural areas.

The alert – issued by the fire service in conjunction with the Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWF) – covers Easter Ross, central Highlands and south-west Scotland, while a moderate to high warning is in place for Central and Western Scotland.

The warnings come after days of hot and dry weather across the country, with temperatures reaching 29C at Threave in Dumfries and Galloway yesterday.

READ MORE: Scots sizzle in 'hottest day of the year' as temperatures soar

Wildfires have the potential to burn for days, devastate vast areas of land and threaten nearby communities.

Deputy assistant chief officer Alasdair Perry, head of prevention and protection for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), said: “We are asking the public to exercise extreme caution and think twice before using anything involving a naked flame.

“Many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires, which can cause significant damage.

“Livestock, farmland, wildlife, protected woodland and sites of special scientific interest can all be devastated by these fires – as can the lives of people living and working in rural communities.

READ MORE: Scots urged to think about their water usage during heatwave

“These fires can also have a hugely negative impact on the environment and the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

“Human behaviour can significantly lower the chance of a wildfire starting, so it is crucial that people act safely and responsibly in rural environments, and always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.”

The warnings cover the period from today until Monday, July 26.