Firefighters face the potential of attending thousands of deliberate fires this summer

During the summer months last year, firefighters in Scotland responded to at least 40 deliberate fires every day.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is warning of a needless drain on resources over the next few months if the number reaches the same levels as last year.

SFRS recorded around 3,900 deliberate fires between June and August 2023.

The vast majority, totalling more than 3,200, were classified as secondary fires, such as incidents involving derelict buildings, unoccupied buildings, grassland and refuse.

The statistics recorded 87 deliberate fires in derelict buildings and 54 deliberate fires in unoccupied buildings.

Additionally, there were 1,428 deliberate fires that affected grassland, along with 1,399 incidents of deliberate refuse fires.

The SFRS is warning of the risks deliberate fires pose as it launches its Safer Summer 2024 campaign.

The campaign aims to help tackle anti-social behaviour and deliberate fires as crews enter the summer period.

Assistant Chief Officer David Lockhart is the SFRS’s Director of Prevention, Protection and Preparedness.

He said: “Firefighters across Scotland were called to over 40 deliberate fires daily last summer which is a needless drain in our resources.

“Most of these fires were secondary fires, involving derelict buildings, unoccupied buildings, grassland and refuse.

“In terms of derelict buildings in particular, these structures have the potential to cause great risk to members of the public so please do not think of entering them for any reason.

“Deliberate fire setting is not only reckless and dangerous but can divert SFRS resources away from genuine emergencies.”

SFRS would encourage parents, carers and teachers to help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risks and consequences of deliberate fire setting.

The Service works closely with partners, including Police Scotland and Fearless, a dedicated youth service of the independent charity Crimestoppers, to identify those responsible.

Lyndsay McDade is Fearless Scotland Manager at charity Crimestoppers. She urges everyone to play their part in reducing the risk of fire.

She said: “Deliberate fires are often started with no understanding of how quickly they can get out of hand and cause not only significant damage but serious injury and risk to life.

“Fearless works closely with partner agencies, including SFRS, to reduce anti-social behaviour and deliberate fire setting.

“If you know who is responsible for starting unsafe fires in your community you can speak up to our charity 100% anonymously at We can’t track your IP address or any contact details.”

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