Fire chief’s warning over Spring incidents

Even after the firefighter used the waterhose, flames the wheelie bin continued to burn.
Even after the firefighter used the waterhose, flames the wheelie bin continued to burn.

Aberdeenshire’s most senior fire officer has issued a warning about Spring fires.

With the onset of Easter holidays, local senior officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray David Rout is urging people to do what they can to prevent incidents over the coming weeks.

During the months of March and April the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) traditionally sees an increase in the number of deliberate fires across the country, compared to the rest of the year.

In March and April last year there were 2384 deliberate fires across Scotland and while the totals are down significantly from a high of 4677 in the same period in 2011, the service says there is still much work to be done.

The service will work together with Police Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Aberdeenshire Council and Crimestoppers Scotland to prevent outbreaks, and with the police in highlighting the need to report fire offending.

Mr Rout explained: “We want to ensure the Easter break period is an enjoyable one for everyone, but it’s equally importantly that people remain safe from fire.

“Over the next few months we’ll typically see an increase in the amount of deliberate fires and fly-tipping.

“SFRS is appealing in particular to young people as they go on school holidays for the Easter break, to consider the consequences of deliberately setting a fire.

“We would urge parents to ensure that their children know about and understand the potentially tragic consequences deliberate fires can have, as well as the impact for responding emergency services.”

The warning has been backed by Aberdeenshire Council.

Infrastructure services committee chair Councillor Peter Argyle said: “While it seems incredible that anyone would deliberately set a fire without legitimate reason, it does happen in towns and in rural locations, having potentially very serious impacts on communities’ safety and wellbeing.

“Fly tipping, a highly antisocial and illegal activity in itself, can also be a fire hazard and I urge anyone looking to dispose of waste to take it to an appropriate council facility instead.”