Warnings over rural fire risk

A senior Angus fire officer is urging the public to stay safe from fire this summer and take steps to protect themselves, their homes, communities and businesses.

Billy McLintock, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s group manager for Angus, said this week that the change in the weather can bring with it a variety of fire hazards.

Between June 30 and August 29 last year there were 1048 grassland, woodland and crop fires in Scotland, a number of which were preventable. The service is asking for the public’s support in the fight against fire now and take preventative steps.

Mr McLintock said: “Every year as temperatures rise, the sunshine brings with it an increase in the amount of both accidental and deliberate fires.

“Every year as the school holidays begin we see an increase in the amount of deliberate fires set by children who do so for ‘fun’. We’re urging parents and carers to visit the Summer Safety page of our website at www.firescotland.gov.uk, to find out more about the risks and explain now to their children the tragic consequences these fires can have.

“SFRS will also see a rise in the amount of accidental fires or wildfires, which the service has responded to during the summer months in the Angus area. Again, there are simple steps that can be taken now to prevent these fires with information available at www.firescotland.gov.uk”

Advice includes making sure that smoking materials are fully extinguished and disposed of properly; do not leave glass or bottles in the open but dispose of them in bins as sun’s rays, reflected through glass, has the potential to cause a wildfire or serious grassland fire; make sure recreational fires are made in a fire safe pit or container and that they are properly extinguished.

Anyone who spots a fire in the countryside, no matter how small, should report it by calling 999 as fire has the potential to turn rapidly turn into a wildfire. If deliberate fire-raising is suspected, contact Police Scotland on 101.