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Fire safety campaign launches after outdoor blazes double in summer 2021

The number of avoidable outdoor fires more than doubles last year, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said (Balintore Fire Station/PA)
The number of avoidable outdoor fires more than doubles last year, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said (Balintore Fire Station/PA)

Firefighters dealt with more than double the amount of outdoor blazes last year than in 2020, new figures have revealed.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said its crews had responded to 1,466 incidents between June 21 and August 23 2021 of fires involving grass, woodlands and crops.

That compares with 713 such incidents the previous year, it added.

The fire service has just launched its summer safety campaign, and is appealing for people to be aware of “how quickly things can get out of hand”.

With the SFRS revealing it had to deal with more than 3,000 blazes that were started deliberately last summer, fire chiefs are also urging parents to make clear the “costs and consequences of starting a fire”.

Deputy assistant chief officer Alasdair Perry, the head of prevention and protection at the SFRS, said: “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.”

With outdoor wildfires having the potential to burn for several days, damaging large parts of Scotland, Mr Perry also stated: “We need people to be aware of how quickly things can get out of hand.”

He said: “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.”

He advised people: “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.”