Concern has been raised about deliberate fire-raising in Fife after a further blaze at a local country park.
Dramatic pictures from Thursday night showed a large section of gorse ablaze, with reports of multiple sections of the park alight.
One source said that around four or five of these fires were being reported every week, potentially diverting resources from house fires.
Fife councillor Darren Watt told The Courier he would “hate” to think the fires on Thursday were another case of “wanton vandalism”.
Police recently stepped up patrols in the surrounding areas after repeated firebug attacks in Lochore Meadows, Lochgelly, and in Cowdenbeath.
Speaking about the impact of deliberate fires across Scotland, Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Alasdair Perry said: “Deliberate fires have the potential to cause injury and even death or cause devastating damage to our environment and properties.
“One deliberate fire is one too many – they are a needless drain on emergency service resources at a difficult time.
“Our firefighters and community action teams have been and will continue to work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages.
“But as we cannot conduct school visits or engage with young people directly through clubs and groups, I would ask parents, guardians and carers to help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risks and consequences of deliberate fire setting.
“It is vital we continue to remind people that deliberate fire setting is a crime and a criminal record can affect future life and job opportunities – a price that can be easily avoided.”
As well as fires at the park in recent weeks, another was also set at the grounds of Lochgelly United and in Cowdenbeath.
Parents were urged to find out where their children were, with police said to be targeting patrols at areas where antisocial behaviour was occurring.
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Councillor Mr Watt said: “Like so many other local residents, I was deeply concerned to hear of a large bush fire at the Meedies but was relieved to learn the local fire services responded immediately and quickly extinguished the blaze.
“I understand another fire was started shortly after the first. Although I am not yet fully aware of the facts, I would hate to think this is yet another case of wanton vandalism and deliberate destruction in our community.”
Jewel in Fife’s crown
The councillor added that the park was “one of the jewels in Fife’s crown”.
He said: “It is so important people respect our beautiful, natural environment. Mindless acts such littering, graffiti, vandalism and fire raising are a huge waste of our already stretched public resources and could be far better spent improving and enhancing our local area and facilities.”
A Scottish Fire and Rescue spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 7.13pm on Thursday, April 22 to reports of a small fire in open ground at Lochore Meadows Country Park, near Lochgelly, Fife.
“Operations Control mobilised one fire appliance and firefighters extinguished the flames.
“There were no reported casualties and crews left the scene after ensuring the area was made safe.”