South Scotland

Rural farm fire total in Scotland hits five-year peak

Grass fire Image copyright Thinkstock

Farmers and crofters have been urged to protect their property after the number of rural farm fires in Scotland reached a five-year high.

There were 343 fires on agricultural land in 2015/16.

The highest totals were found in Aberdeenshire, the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway.

Earlier this year the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service - with NFU Scotland - launched a rural risk survey to help map out any dangers.

It has now been rolled out to three areas of Scotland - South Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway and the Highlands - with the hope of extending it in years to come.

Agricultural fires by council area
Council 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16
Aberdeen City 3 6 3 3 6
Aberdeenshire 41 53 60 51 47
Angus 11 16 17 15 18
Argyll & Bute 3 7 5 6 5
Clackmannanshire 1 3 9 5 2
Dumfries & Galloway 16 14 16 24 25
Dundee City 0 1 0 1 2
East Ayrshire 6 9 11 5 6
East Dunbartonshire 5 3 2 0 2
East Lothian 20 10 12 24 18
East Renfrewshire 1 0 3 3 2
Edinburgh City 15 4 5 5 8
Falkirk 17 2 5 10 15
Fife 24 17 21 16 21
Glasgow City 1 0 3 5 4
Highland 19 28 30 21 44
Inverclyde 1 0 0 0 2
Midlothian 10 5 16 5 12
Moray 15 10 14 18 9
Na h-Eileanan Siar 0 2 2 1 0
North Ayrshire 9 2 7 5 4
North Lanarkshire 7 7 5 9 9
Orkney Islands 2 3 1 2 8
Perth & Kinross 22 18 16 29 18
Renfrewshire 2 3 4 4 1
Scottish Borders 22 11 15 25 22
Shetland Islands 1 2 1 1 0
South Ayrshire 10 1 4 9 3
South Lanarkshire 8 7 9 5 8
Stirling 13 5 4 7 10
West Dunbartonshire 1 4 3 1 1
West Lothian 9 10 8 10 11
Total 315 263 311 325 343

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: "A fire on a farm or croft can be devastating and it is worrying to see that incidents are at their peak since 2010.

"With farms and crofts often in remote areas, and can on occasion be hard to find, this rural risk survey will assist in helping fire crews to reach the fire quicker and more easily and prevent wider damage.

"We encourage farmers and crofters to take the time to contact the fire service to inform them of what you hold on your property, and to map out where the dangers are. By doing this, it could save your farm or croft if a fire was to ever occur."

He said any precaution to make properties safer could "only be a good thing".

'Safety message'

Scott Kennedy, of SFRS, commented: "To date, we have carried out 60 visits to local farms in South Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway to complete the rural risk information.

"SFRS has now identified an opportunity to engage with the farming communities to effectively communicate a valuable safety message, not only for the benefit of farming communities themselves but also for the protection of fire crews from the associated dangers within farm premises.

"We have a duty to serve and protect everyone within our community and we want to ensure that farms and crofts are given similar attention."

He said the survey helped to provide information about hazards on properties and also about water supplies and farm access.

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