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By Euan Maxwell
Front
Fire figures

ACCIDENTAL fires across the region were down almost a third, new figures have revealed.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) area commander and local senior officer Craig McGoldrick, left, told councillors that accidental house fires were reduced by 27 per cent in the past year.

Deliberate fire setting remains similar in numbers to those incidents reported in previous years, with 149 incidents being reported.

The beginning of the year saw a large rise in fire setting with 54 being reported during April and May 2020.

Mr McGoldrick confirmed that 44 of these incidents were attributed to grassland and wildfires.

He said: “The SFRS responded well to challenges experienced. “Through engagement with local communities and other agencies we were able to reduce these incidents to low numbers.

“Our actions also resulted in several people being charged by Police Scotland for deliberate fire setting following joint agency investigations.”

Mr McGoldrick’s report also outlined the impact coronavirus has had on the fire service.

He said: “The operating model adopted by the Fire and Rescue Service in Dumfries and Galloway has had to change in line with the requirements placed on the Service by Scottish Government during Covid-19 pandemic.

“This pandemic has not only had an impact on the SFRS but also the wider community. At the height of lockdown, businesses were required to change the way they operated or in some cases, closed altogether.

“Along with restrictions placed on households, these changes have impacted dramatically on the number and type of incidents attended by the service.

“Not only have the SFRS worked hard to adapt and continue to support partners and engage with communities and businesses in Dumfries and Galloway during covid, we have commenced developing our ‘Reset and Renew’ route map into our area plans.

He added: “As we move from the acute phase to chronic phase, these plans will ensure we navigate the pandemic with the commitment to maintaining our ability to continue to deliver essential services during and post Covid-19 times.

“Some of the processes implemented may require to be maintained for the foreseeable future and perhaps even permanently.”

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