New figures show North-east firefighters called out to 115 deliberate blazes in just two months

Nearly 2,700 deliberate fires were started across Scotland in a two-month period.

Fire chiefs today spoke of the devastation deliberate blazes can cause to communities.

The comments were made after figures revealed more than 2,000 deliberate fires took place during a two-month period across Scotland, and included incidents involving refuse, fields and the countryside.

Figures released by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) show crews dealt with a total of 2,782 such blazes across the country between March and April 2017.

In Aberdeen, the figure for the same period last year was 47, while in Aberdeenshire and Moray it was 68.

The figures were revealed ahead of a national Spring safety campaign, with the brigade warning how firefighters will continue to work closely with Police Scotland to identify those responsible for the blazes.

Darren Riddell, SFRS group manager for prevention and protection in Aberdeen city, said an area which is often targeted by firebugs is The Gramps.

Speaking of initiatives carried out locally he said the service worked with schools and in partnership with other agencies to get the message across about the impact deliberate fires can have.

He went on to say that it was difficult to put a cost on the damage caused by such incidents, saying: “There’s a lot of factors, if someone sets fire to a fence – that needs to be repaired, there’s the cost of us going to that.

“It’s all a drain to the public purse.

“Deliberate fire setting is a crime – we have a full fire investigation team, that works with Police Scotland.

“I do not think people realise the lengths we go to to find out how fires start.”

Commenting on the national figures assistant chief officer David McGown who is the SFRS director of prevention and protection, said: “These figures are absolutely unacceptable.

“Firefighters exist to protect their communities and yet they are being put at risk by a very small minority of people within those communities who deliberately set fires.

“Let’s be very clear – fire can cause injury, damage properties and affect the environment, not to mention the potential impact on businesses and the economy.”