CREWS from five local fire-stations put out more than 30 grass and moorland fires last week.

Firefighters from Cumnock, Dalmellington, Muirkirk, Mauchline and New Cumnock were called out to deal with the outbreaks, which happened between May 2 and May 5.

Such blazes are 100 per cent avoidable, but the consequences could be fatal if resources are stretched and a major incident happens elsewhere.

Station manager Alan Coughtrie, who is based at Cumnock, said that wild and grass fires can start by the careless disposal of cigarettes, and barbecues or campfires left unattended.

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

He added: “Many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by wildfires, which can cause significant environmental and economic 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.

“Human behaviour can significantly lower the chance of a wildfire starting so it’s crucial people act safely and responsibly in rural environments and follow the countryside code.

“Grass and wildfires are a common risk at this time of year when warmer weather dries out vegetation — especially dead winter foliage — which offers an ample fuel source.

“At the start of spring there is often a lot of dead vegetation left over from last year — this fuel can dry out quickly with higher temperatures and lower humidity levels.”