The number of fires started deliberately in West Dunbartonshire has increased, it has been revealed.

There were 79 last year – up 11 per cent on the previous year.

However, the total number of fires in the area decreased.

There were 318 between October 1 and December 31, 2019 – the latest figures available.

Compared to the same period the previous year, that is a drop of 25, or seven per cent.

Councillors were informed of the figures at the community planning meeting today, February 13.

A report from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) also found that false alarms were the most common type of incident with 31.33 per cent of call outs deemed to be unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS).

Firefighters attended 161 UFAS call outs during the time frame.

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Accidental dwelling fires in West Dunbartonshire also continued to fall.

There were 16 between last October and December, with the majority, 12 of them, being caused by cooking appliances.

Of the accidental house fires, 12 of them (75 per cent) required no firefighting action, and 11 of the properties (69 per cent) suffered only heat or smoke damage.

People were blamed for causing most of the house fires, with six due to alcohol or drug impairment, and a further five happened when people became “distracted” while cooking.

Just one person required hospital treatment for slight injuries following a fire in the Lomond area.

Fire crews also attended 47 “special service incidents”, such as road traffic collisions.

There was just one death from this type of incident.

The report also revealed deliberate fires have increased.

There were 79 recorded, which is an 11 per cent year-on-year increase.