MSP urges caution as firefighters tackle dozens of barbeque fires each year

An MSP has issued a warning to the public after figures revealed firefighters are called out to dozens of barbeque fires each year.
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Liam McArthur, Scottish Liberal Democrats justice, policing and fire spokesman, has urged caution to Scots using or disposing of barbeques this summer.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has been called out to 161 fires involving barbeques since 2017/18, according to a freedom of information request by the party.

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Recent incidents included two wildfires in West Lothian on Wednesday while Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh has seen a number of blazes break out this year.

Firefighters were called to two fires in West Lothian on Wednesday afternoon.Firefighters were called to two fires in West Lothian on Wednesday afternoon.
Firefighters were called to two fires in West Lothian on Wednesday afternoon.

And the number of fires caused by barbeques is on the rise, with more than half of the incidents occurring since 2020, figures show.

Mr McArthur said: “With summer in full swing, more and more Scots will be out in their gardens, in the park or exploring the countryside enjoying a barbeque.

“These figures show that on dozens of occasions these barbeques have got out of control.

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“Scotland is facing the consequence of the climate emergency first-hand. It is easier than ever for fires to spread out of control, damaging property and our beautiful natural environment.

“I would urge the public to listen to the fire service’s advice, exercise caution, never leave a barbeque unattended and always wait until ashes are cold to touch before binning them.”

David Farries, SFRS director of service delivery, said: “We welcome any support to highlight our advice to help keep communities safe.

“We once again urge people to visit our website for more information about seasonal summer risks, and this includes key advice for the safe use of barbecues.

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“It is imperative that the public exercises caution as carelessness can result in injury or fire spread which can damage property and the surrounding environment.”

Mr Farries, who chairs the National On Call Leadership Forum, added: “We commend all of our on-call firefighters who respond at a moment’s notice to protect communities.

“There is no doubt that recruitment can be challenging within more rural and remote communities for a variety of reasons and that is why we have commenced a project that will drive improvements in how we attract and recruit people.

“We will continue to engage with key stakeholders and encourage people to help us provide a service for the community by becoming an on-call firefighter.”