Careless toilet habits could lead to a ring of fire, Heather Morning warned

Careless toilet habits could lead to a ring of fire

Imagine having to outrun a wildfire with your trousers round your ankles.

Not an edifying prospect, but one that could happen according to a mountaineering expert.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland’s safety adviser Heather Morning cautioned against burning your used toilet paper in the great outdoors during the hot spell.

She said: “When ‘going’ outdoors, many people are taught to burn their loo roll.

“Otherwise it takes a long time to break down and can blow around in the wind – unsightly and unhygienic.

“But the thought of galloping down a hill with your trousers around your ankles, fleeing a fire you just set with loo roll, doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Ms Morning advised against campfires too while the hot weather prevails and the hills are tinder-dry.

She said warm temperatures and lack of rain dry out vegetation and the ground itself and greatly increase the danger of even the smallest of fires getting out of control.

“The idea of sitting around a campfire is a romantic one but it can all too quickly turn into a nightmare,” she said.

“Dry grass catches fire especially easily, but fire will spread quickly through any dry vegetation and fires can even smoulder in the ground itself, where it is peaty or full of roots, bursting into flames maybe hours after the campfire seems to have been extinguished.”

She added that, with the difficulties of access and water supplies facing firefighters, a fire in the great outdoors can do immense damage over a huge area before being brought under control, endangering wildlife and humans as well as rural properties.

The MCofS mountain safety adviser said: “For cooking or even just heating water, camping stoves can be cheap and easily available, and are so much more efficient.

“If you can’t get a fire lit it can spell disaster for your dinner, but if you can’t get a fire out, then it will be a disaster for everyone – not to mention dangerous to yourself.”

Ms Morning signalled a change in attitude to traditional campfires. She said, once an integral part of camping, campfires are increasingly becoming unacceptable.

Apart from the danger of wildfire, she said they cause environmental damage and use up dead wood which is a valuable insect habitat, and insects are essential for a health bird population.

She added they also leave scarring on the ground which, in popular areas, is unsightly and can take years to clear.

Latest mountain weather forecasts from the Mountain Weather Information Service predict dry, though cooler, weather continuing through the weekend and into next week, with ground becoming very dry underfoot.

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