Outdoor fire safety message is pitched at campers in Aberdeenshire

Safety advice to prevent avoidable fires in the Aberdeenshire countryside is being pitched at campers.

By Kevin Mcroberts
Friday, 2nd July 2021, 6:50 am
Campers need to be aware of the risks posed by fire when visiting the countryside.
Campers need to be aware of the risks posed by fire when visiting the countryside.

The advice comes as new data shows the number of grass fires in Aberdeenshire and Moray more than doubled last summer – from 27 fires between June 24 and August 26, 2019, to 65 fires between June 22 and August 24, 2020.

Many outdoor fires are started deliberately or are due to careless or irresponsible behaviour, and warmer weather and the increased numbers of people visiting the countryside as pandemic restrictions ease create a greater risk of fire.

Not using candles in tents and never leaving camp fires unattended are just some of the tips being highlighted for a safer summer.

Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Alasdair Perry, head of prevention and protection for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We want people to enjoy spending time outdoors, but it’s important to create a safe environment for you, your loved-ones and the surrounding environment because even small fires have the potential to turn into a wildfire.

“Before lighting any outdoor fires, check for any restrictions or permissions required by the landowner and make sure you use a fire safe pit or container that can be properly extinguished before you leave.

“The vast majority of us wish to keep our country beautiful, but litter can seriously injure wildlife and items such as glass bottles in strong sunlight have the potential to start a fire. Remember to keep your area tidy and always clear up when done.”

There are also other dangers associated with camping as DACO Perry added: “Be aware that fire destroys tents very quickly, so use torches instead of candles.

“Never take portable or disposable barbecues into a tent to cook or to use for heat because carbon monoxide is a potential risk. And gas barbecues should also be used in well-ventilated areas.”

Those choosing to go away in caravans for a staycation are also being reminded to have a working smoke alarm fitted.

A fire in a caravan or mobile home spreads much more quickly than it would in a house or flat and there are on average around 100 caravan fires in Scotland every year. And caravans and tents should be at least six metres apart and well away from parked cars to reduce the risk of fire spreading.

Summer also brings with it the temptation to swim outdoors, but lochs, rivers and reservoirs also pose a risk to those enjoying nature.

Cold water shock can leave people gasping for breath and it’s potentially fatal. Therefore, the advice is to avoid unsupervised waterways.

More safer summer advice can be found online at firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/safer-summer.aspx

Don’t forget if you’re leaving your home for an extended period of time this summer, remember to switch off electrical appliances before you set off.

If a fire occurs in the countryside, no matter how small, call 999 and ask for the fire service straight away. If you suspect someone of acting irresponsibly, contact Police Scotland on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.