Over 250 fires deliberately set in local woods
The fire service has issued a warning after being forced to attend 264 woodland fires in the Falkirk and Bo'ness areas.
The emergency service say fire fighters were called out to 264 deliberate secondary fires in Kinneil Woods, Polmont Woods and Callendar Park Woods last year.
No injuries were reported, but the surrounding environments and wheelie bins were badly damaged.
Watch Manager Robert Thomson, the local area liaison officer, said the incidents present a danger to life and property and can have a detrimental financial impact on local economies.
Deliberate and senseless fire setting has a considerable financial cost on the emergency service and ties up vital resources and fire fighters who may have to attend emergencies where lives are at risk.
Mr Thomson said: “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.”
The fire service is working with partner agencies Police Scotland, Crimestoppers Scotland, and Falkirk Council’s Community Safety Team in a bid to prevent illegal fires and highlight the need to report fire offending.
The SFRS and Police Scotland are taking a zero tolerance approach towards the incidents and are working together to identify those responsible as quickly as possible.
Mr Thomson added: “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 anti-social behaviour.