A spike in fire-raising incidents in Fife has been branded a ‘needless drain on emergency services’.
Firefighters have attended several blazes across the region in recent weeks and local Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) chiefs have confirmed the area is experiencing a higher number of deliberate fires than usual.
A number of the blazes are still under investigation, with the police and fire services reaching out to the public for any information.
Concerns have been raised around the lack of youth engagement with fire safety advice due to the pandemic.
Mark Bryce is the SFRS local senior officer for Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Fife.
He said: “We have seen a higher number of deliberate fires in the Fife area than usual.
“Deliberate fires have the potential to cause injury and even death or cause devastating damage to our environment and properties.
“They are a needless drain on emergency service resources at a difficult time.”
Local residents reported seeing a group of youths in the wooded area just moments before the fire started.
No school visits
The rescue service has not been able to visit schools and engage with youngsters to promote fire safety during the pandemic.
“Our firefighters and community action teams have been and will continue to work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages,” said Mark.
“But as we cannot conduct school visits or engage with young people directly through clubs and groups at this time, I would ask parents, guardians, and carers to help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risks and consequences of deliberate fire setting.”
Wilful fire raising
Mark added: “We also continue to liaise with premises occupiers, particularly in town centres to give advice on refuse storage and security, which can be a cause of deliberate fires.”
Police are seeking information after two trailers were set alight in Kirkcaldy and caused £15,000 worth of damage.
Officers also launched an investigation into an early morning flat fire in Rosyth. Inquiries established that there were several people in the area when the blaze started just after 1am.
Would you report your kids?
It comes after police asked parents to report their children if they came home smelling of smoke or accelerants.
The appeal was launched earlier this year due to a growing number of deliberate fires in Dundee and Fife.