THE Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is looking at ways to cut the number of fires being started in locations such as Calais Muir Woods.

The issue of deliberate blazes in the woodland area was brought up by Councillor Cara Hilton during an update by the service for members of the City of Dunfermline area committee.

She expressed concern at the number of instances which had taken place.

"One of the challenges we face is fire-raising in Calais Muir Woods. Is there any specific strategy to help us tackle this issue that seems to be escalating?" she asked.

Group commander Alistair Topp told committee members that work was already under way to try to address the problem.

"Our community action team has already made contact with the police in the Dunfermline area and they will look at some engagement activity to reduce the number of calls as well as education of a number of individuals who may be loitering around that area," he said.

"We are starting to get back in to schools to speak about deliberate and wildlife fire-setting. We also have plans with community actions teams for up and coming activity."

A report to councillors summarising figures for the City of Dunfermline area revealed that the number of accidental house fires went up by 12.5 per cent last year with 27 incidents compared to 24 the previous year.

There were no accidental dwelling fire deaths, however, the number of casualties went up by 73 per cent to 19.

The number of deliberate primary fires went up by two to 26 while the number of deliberate secondary fires was up by six to 79.

The number of non-domestic building fires recorded was 10, down 90 per cent from the previous year. A total of 40 per cent of these incidents involved garden sheds, with 60 per cent being due to naked flames.

The number of unwanted fire alarm signals caused by automatic fire alarms in non-domestic buildings was up by 26 per cent to 235 with hospitals, care homes and schools making up 44 per cent of these calls.

The number of road traffic collisions during 2021/22 was 15 – six more than last year and 18 per cent above the four-year average.

There were no fatal road traffic collisions last year but there were 13 non-fatal casualties which was an increase of eight compared to the previous 12 months.

Group Commander Topp said the rise in collisions – and the increase in unwanted fire alarm signals – was a result of a return to "normal" following the pandemic.

"People are getting back on the roads," he explained. "The unwanted fire alarm signals, there has been an increase of 151 over the same period last year. This is most likely down to businesses opening back up again."

Committee convener, Councillor James Calder, paid tribute to the work of fire crews.

"I would like to pass my thanks to the fire service locally," he said. "It is really nice to see some of the community engagement that is being done as well."