The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is reminding the public to remain vigilant against the threat of deliberate fires particularly in woodland in the Falkirk and Boness areas.
Last year, the emergency service was alerted to 264 deliberate secondary fires in the region, many of which were within Kinneil Woods, Polmont Woods and Callendar Park Woods.
No one was injured however trees, wheelie bins and the surrounding environment were badly damaged.
These incidents present a danger to life, property and can have a detrimental financial impact on the local economy.
In an effort to prevent any repeat of this illegal activity, the emergency service is working with its partner agencies including Falkirk Council’s Community Safety Team and Crimestoppers Scotland to prevent fires and support Police Scotland in highlighting the need to report fire offending.
Local Area Liaison Officer, Watch Manager, Robert Thomson, explains: “Deliberate woodland fires have a real potential to cause significant environmental damage as well as needlessly put lives at risk.
“It’s completely unacceptable and has a detrimental impact on the service we provide to the public.
“With the worst of the winter now behind us we are likely to experience drier spells, which provides additional opportunities for fire to take hold.
“They can quickly grow out of control and result in a significant drain on our resources preventing us from attending real emergencies.”
Deliberate fire setting has a considerable financial cost on the emergency service and ties up valuable resources for often lengthy periods of time.
The SFRS and Police Scotland take a zero tolerance approach towards such incidents and work together in identifying those responsible as quickly as possible.
Watch Manager Thomson continued: “There is a clear link between instances of deliberate fires and anti-social behaviour.
“Our aim is to prevent fires before they start and we continue to work closely with our communities and local schools to educate and reduce the number of deliberate secondary fires.
“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will work extremely closely with our colleagues in Police Scotland to identify anyone involved in deliberate fire setting.
“We want to stop fires before they start and I hope the public will join our fight against fire by reporting any fire related anti-social behaviour to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Young people are also advised to visit fearless.org where they can anonymously report antisocial behaviour.