THERE is a “very high” risk of wildfires across Scotland amid warm weather this weekend, the fire service has warned.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has issued the warning for East, Central and Southern Scotland from Friday until Monday, May 29.

As temperatures increase, the build-up of dead grass and heather from last year pose a heightened risk of fire, the service said.

SFRS has urged people who live, work or visit rural areas to exercise caution over the coming days.

READ MORE: Emergency crews tackle 200-metre wildfire in Highlands

SFRS group commander Niall MacLennan said: "Numerous wildfires across Scotland this spring – including a wildfire at Kinlochmoidart which spanned the course of three days – have shown how real the danger of fire is in the countryside and how damaging it can be to the environment, wildlife and nearby communities.

"With rising temperatures this weekend and further dry conditions into next week, wildfires could burn and spread with very high intensity in high-risk areas.

"Therefore, it is crucial that people act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors and please think twice before using anything involving a naked flame."

Ahead of the warm and dry bank holiday weekend, water scarcity risk has also been raised to “alert level” for the first time this year.

In particular, the area around Loch Maree in the Highlands has recorded very low river flows.

The head of water and planning at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Nathan Critchlow-Watton, said: “With very little to no rainfall forecast across Scotland in the coming days, we expect ground conditions to continue getting drier and river flows to decrease or remain low.

“The next few weeks and months are a crucial time of year for water demand and we’re urging abstractors to manage water wisely, minimising the need for restrictions to be imposed by SEPA.”

SEPA added that due to climate change, businesses are experiencing the impacts of more frequent extreme weather events, such as water scarcity, and are urged to increase their resilience.

In the near future, the occurrence of serious droughts are projected to increase from an average of one every 20 years, to one every two years.

If you see a fire, however small, call 999 immediately.

For advice on how to prevent wildfires, visit: