Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Record
Daily Record
Stuart Sommerville

Busiest summer in years for West Lothian fire crews with careless campers causing major blazes

Fire crews have had the busiest summer in years with careless camp fires causing many of the blazes in West Lothian.

Final figures of just how busy local fire crews were during the summer has yet to be tallied up but midway through the second quarter of the financial year, the call out numbers are already stacking up.

Liaison officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Paul Harvey, was only able to give full details of the first quarter from April to the end of June when he spoke to Bathgate's Local Area Committee this week.

Councillor Willie Boyle asked: "Even if this past weekend wasn't particularly warm there were still a lot of people out using open spaces How has it affected you?

Watch Commander Harvey said the year had started quieter than in previous years but the summer holidays had made things much busier.

Mr Harvey said: "Quarter one wasn't too bad in relation to previous years, but if I come back in a few weeks we"ll have a different set of figures for the the second quarter."

He added: "The summer holidays were very busy. I checked the stats mid August and it was already the busiest quarter we have seen in the last six years. That's across West Lothian.

"The dry weather had a huge impact on us with lots of fires that had been started as very small, perhaps wild camping, with people lighting a fire. But it ended up with whole fields on fire. The Bathgate Hills were particularly badly affected. The worst one was by Harburn. That went on for three or four days."

Commander Harvey told the committee: "These were all relatively small fires that had developed into much larger ones. Deliberate fire setting behaviours are continuing but some of the fires are carelessness in the dry weather."

The Fire Service tries to do a lot of engagement work in the holidays and working with schools in the run up to the summer holidays.

Liaison staff met with assemblies in high schools at Armadale, Bathgate Academy and St Kentigern's.

The spoke to younger class whole year assemblies and also worked with small groups of older pupils

A lot of the engagement work planned for the summer ended up with the liaison officer having to work alone. The fire appliances booked to come along were all working on blaze duty in the Bathgate Hills, and at Harburn.

Appliances from around the country also attended at the prolonged blaze at Harburn.

Don't miss the latest news from the West Lothian Courier. Sign up to our free newsletter here

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.