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Holidaymakers are being urged to help maintain Scotland’s natural beauty

todayJune 22, 2022 17

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Avoidable outdoor fires more than doubled last summer

Holidaymakers are being urged to help maintain Scotland’s natural beauty, as fresh statistics show that avoidable outdoor fires more than doubled last summer.

During summer 2021, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews responded to more than 1,400 fires involving grass, woodland and crops.

Between June 21 and August 23 last year, 1,446 incidents of this nature were recorded. In 2020, crews responded to 713 incidents an increase of more than 102%. Fires in the open are often set deliberately or are caused by negligence and complacency. They can cause huge damage to vast areas of landscape and wildlife and have the potential to burn for days.

Speaking to mark the launch of the #SaferSummer campaign, Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Alasdair Perry SFRS Head of Prevention and Protection, said: “We need people to be aware of how quickly things can get out of hand.

“Outdoor fires can spread very quickly and can cause huge damage both to areas of countryside and indeed can spread quickly within tents and caravans.

“We understand that people will, of course, want to take to the countryside and holiday in Scotland this year. But please be careful and bear in mind that human behaviour can drive the risk of fire down significantly.

“First and foremost, before lighting any outdoor fires, check for any restrictions or permissions required by the landowner and make sure you use a fire safe pit or container that can be properly extinguished before you leave.”

New statistics show that deliberate fire-setting is also on the rise, with firefighters responding to more than 3,000 deliberate fires across Scotland last summer. This is the equivalent to 48 deliberately set fires every day across Scotland.

These fires were largely comprised of outdoor incidents impacting grasslands and refuse, but also included building and vehicle fires. 

DACO Perry has urged everyone to play their part in reducing the risk of fire – particularly parents and carers.

He said: “Deliberate fire-setting is as needless as it is unacceptable.

“We are proud of our educational and prevention work, but it is true that parents, carers, and members of the public can all help us here by engaging with young people and laying bear the costs and consequences of starting a fire. “When a young person deliberately starts a fire, they are risking their safety, their future, and the welfare of others. Firefighters are also being dragged away from genuine emergencies.

“Our prevention work will continue across the country, but it goes without saying that we take deliberate fire-setting very seriously and will always work with our partners in Police Scotland to identify those responsible.”  

Read more on how to stay safe in the outdoors this summer and how to help us prevent deliberate fire-setting.

Written by: Phil Briscoe

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