Reducing deliberate fires

Deliberate fires can endanger lives and harm communities. It's important to take steps to prevent them in your area and keep everyone safe.

Reducing Deliberate Fires

Setting a deliberate fire could put someone’s life at risk and impact on every community. Here you will find information about how you can help prevent deliberate fires where you live to keep your community safe.

The scale of the problem

Deliberately set fires are dangerous and are a criminal offense. They waste time, money and keep our crews away from real emergencies. Scottish firefighters attended around 20,000 deliberately set fires a year. This commonly includes: 

  • bins 
  • skips 
  • fly-tipped waste 
  • derelict buildings 
  • dry grass
  • heathland

Half of these deliberate fires involve refuse and rubbish. 90% of which are due to deliberate fire-setting, often by children and young people.  

The cost of responding is to these types of fires is high at an estimated average cost of £2,000 for each incident. It can also delay our attendance at a more serious incident. That means higher chance of injury, property damage and environmental pollution.  

In the the warmers months of spring and summer, deliberately set grass or heathland fires can quickly spread out of control.

How you can help?

Reporting any build-up of rubbish or fly-tipping to your local authority or community fire station. This will help ensure it can be removed and prevent fires.  

Being aware of strangers loitering in your street. If they do so for some time, inform Police Scotland by calling 101.  

Share information on anyone who deliberately sets fires. You can do this by calling Police Scotland on 101 or you can give the information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers

If you look after children or young people, make sure you are aware of where they are and what are doing. It is also worthwhile explaining to them the risks of playing with fire and the consequences of deliberately setting a fire.