The number of incidents attended by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in North Ayrshire from April 1 to June 30 rose by nine per cent year-on-year, to 815.

Primary and secondary fire incidents during the first quarter are up by six per cent to 262 in the corresponding period.

False alarms are up by 15 per cent to 459. There were no fire casualties, with 23 non-fire casualties – an increase of 45 per cent.

Accidental dwelling fires are down from 45 in 2018-19 to 28 in 2023-24.

The highest number of incidents, seven, occurred in Saltcoats and Stevenston while Irvine West had six incidents.

However, in Saltcoats and Stevenston, in five out of seven incidents, the damage was limited due to fire crews intervention. In Irvine West, there was no damage at all in half of the incidents.

The highest number of deliberate fire settings were in Saltcoats and Stevenston where there were 49 and there were 45 such incidents in Irvine West.

And the number of incidents per 100,000 of the population was 37.2 in Saltcoats and Stevenston while there were 33,8 in Irvine East.

Unwanted fire alarm signals went up 12 per cent over five years from 161 to 180 and the figure was also up by 15 per cent in the three-year average.

Councillor John Sweeney asked what was being done to try and alleviate deliberate fire setting.

Firefighter Neil Shearer said: “We are working hard in partnerships throughout Ayrshire as a whole with Police Scotland and the councils.

“We have initiatives for early intervention programmes throughout Ayrshire and dedicated qualified personnel will take a young person and engage with them on the dangers and aspects of deliberate fire setting programmes.

“We also have fairer skills programmes which we run with the council through schools and partners which allows us to talk about the risk, not just of deliberate fire setting but driving and safety within the home and first aid skills.

“We are trying to make people aware of what we provide and building a relationship with young people in particular and try to address deliberate fire setting.

“We also have a youth volunteer scheme which we  started a year ago and has been really successful. We are constantly looking at ideas to try and reduce the amount of fire setting in Ayrshire as a whole.”

They revealed there was now a shortage of retained firefighters in North Ayrshire and there were in the process of seeking new recruits.