The number of deliberate fires in Aberdeen has risen by nearly a quarter, a new report has revealed.
Between April 1 and September 30, crews were called to 210 blazes in the city which had been set deliberately.
The figure marks an increase of 23% on the same period last year, when there were 171 deliberate fires.
Particular issues were identified in Torry, where a number of wheelie bins were set alight.
And problems were also discovered with waste being burned, which fire chiefs have attributed to waste centres being closed due to Covid-19.
The new statistics have been revealed in a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service report, which will go before Aberdeen City Council’s public protection committee next week.
The documents state: “Wheelie bins were the highest occurring property type with a particular spike in the Torry area, however, through strong partnership work, sharing relevant incident information Police Scotland identified and apprehended an individual considered responsible for a large number of these incidents.
“Thirty-two incidents were categorised as grassland in gardens which corresponds with the closure of recycling centres and an increase in individuals burning garden waste. Whilst these fires are deliberately set they are not of an anti-social nature.”
Meanwhile, the report also revealed around 60% of call-outs received by the fire service to incidents in Aberdeen were false alarms.
And more than a third of incidents were classed as unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAs) – where automated systems are caused to send an alert to crews by something other than a fire.
However, the 626 UFAs recorded in the six-month period is down 17% on the same timeframe in 2019, which senior officers are attributing to the effect of Covid-19.
The report reads: “The decrease seen over the reporting period is highly likely to be as a direct consequence of the significant reduction in people within business premises during this time.
“UFAS can be broadly split into two categories; human interactions and system faults, therefore it is logical that the decrease in human activity has positively impacted on the number of UFAS incidents.
“Hospitals are the property type causing the most incidents during the reporting period and are consistently the property type with the most activations. This is due to a number of factors, principally the size of these buildings and the number of detector heads required to sufficiently cover buildings which contain some of the most at-risk people in the event of a fire.
“Additionally, as one of the few premises types that have continued to operate during this reporting period it is to be expected that these premises would report highly against these incidents.
“SFRS has an electronic system for recording UFAS activity and providing an audit trail for all engagement undertaken. Officers manage the system and provide reports on progress.
“SFRS aims to reduce the number of UFAS calls and are currently working with partners at a local level to reduce these calls by applying national policy and process to ensure a consistent approach.
“This approach has seen significant investment from partners in order to reduce UFAS
incidents across Aberdeen City. SFRS will continue to support duty holders in minimising the impact of false alarms on their day to day business and the subsequent impact on SFRS resources.”
Councillors on the public protection committee will hear the report at a meeting next Wednesday.