Vandal fires are putting lives at risk

Merkland Nature Reserve clean-up.  Mugdock Country Rangers Neil Robins and Alan McBride with volunteers 26.2.11 Picture by Jamie Forbes
Merkland Nature Reserve clean-up. Mugdock Country Rangers Neil Robins and Alan McBride with volunteers 26.2.11 Picture by Jamie Forbes

FIRE thugs are putting lives on the line by starting deliberate blazes in Kirkintilloch – including a nature reserve.

That’s the warning this week from a Kirkintilloch-based fire chief.

Crews from the Kirkintilloch station were called out to a total of eight grass fires over one weekend, including five at Merkland Nature Reserve.

Fears have been raised that while crews are attending a grass fire, the area would have to rely on cover coming from another station if a serious blaze were to break out.

Crew commander Robertson, who is based at Kirkintilloch Fire Station, said: “Attending grass fires is a drain on our resources.

“If we are tied up with a grass fire, which maybe a considerable distance from the road, it means Kirkintilloch is not covered and we would need different crews to cover the area.

“This is a regular occurrence in dry weather and when kids are out of school. We would advise the people who are doing this to think twice about their actions.”

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue attends more than 3,000 deliberate fires each April at an estimated cost of around £6million to the community.

SUPPORT: Volunteers are pictured at a recent clean-up at Merkland Nature Reserve.