Firefighters tackled hundreds of deliberate blazes across Scotland last summer

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SFRS is appealing for zero fires this summer

DMc GOWNSummer TAPDedicated crews throughout Scotland battled hundreds of needless fires across the country last summer, latest figures reveal.

Firefighters worked tirelessly throughout the hot summer months of 2017 battling blazes involving homes, vehicles, grassland, refuse and derelict buildings.

And the majority of those fires were deliberate and reckless – putting pressure on firefighters when genuine emergencies arose and placing lives at risk.

Assistant Chief Officer David McGown is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Director of Prevention and Protection.

He spoke out ahead of summer 2018 to warn that firefighters will work closely with colleagues in Police Scotland to identify those responsible.

The ACO also appealed to parents, carers and young people as the school holidays kick off – a traditionally busy time of year for firefighters.

He said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has a very clear, zero tolerance approach to deliberate fire raising because it puts our communities at great risk.

“It presents a danger to life, property and the environment – not to mention the potential impact on businesses which are important to the economy.

“We will continue to work very closely with our police and local authority partners to ensure that those responsible are identified and dealt with accordingly.”

ACO McGown added: “But I must point out that the best fire I ever fought was the one I prevented from happening in the first place.

“That is why we will continue to work hard to engage with our young people and our communities to ensure they are aware of the very real dangers.

“We have seen all too clearly the very devastating consequences of fire and if we can prevent just one person being hurt then it will be worth that effort.”

The latest figures show there were 473 deliberate primary fires within buildings between 26 June and 28 August, 2017.

This is a decrease of 62 from 2016.

There were also 1,700 deliberate secondary fires throughout Scotland, with 623 of these affecting fields, refuse and countryside.

And 1,122 fires involving refuse, both deliberate and accidental.

Anyone with information about deliberate fire-raising should contact the free and confidential Crimestoppers helpline on 0800 555 111.

For more information on how you can keep your home and family safe, visit the Your Safety section of the website /your-safety/safer-summer.aspx

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