ACCIDENTAL house fires across North Ayrshire are at their lowest level in four years.
New Scottish Fire and Rescue Service figures show there were 36 such incidents in 2017/18 while in the previous three years there were 42, 37 and 38 respectively.
But despite the drop, cooking while distracted was still found to be the biggest cause of ignition.
Group Manager Kenny Hankinson welcomed the fall but said the SFRS was not complacent and remained committed to reducing the number of incidents even further.
He said: “It is pleasing to see the reduction of accidental dwelling fires but we still see these mostly commonly occur by cooking.
“Prevention work is a key tactic at saving life and protecting properties so we will continue to engage with communities, particularly the vulnerable and elderly, to ensure risk is reduced and people can live safely.
“One of the ways we do this is through our free home fire safety visits (HFSVs) where crews identify domestic hazards and install smoke detectors – all for free.
“Anyone who wants to know more should call 0800 0731 999 or text "FIRE" to 80800 from your mobile phone.”
The findings for April to June 2017 were revealed in a report submitted to North Ayrshire Council on Tuesday, September 5.
It found that anti-social behaviour was linked to a rise in deliberate fires across the region.
There were 282 such incidents in 2017/18 - but in 2015/16 there were only 144.
Around 76 per cent of these fires involved rubbish or grassland being set alight and most commonly occurred between 5pm and 8pm.
GM Hankinson is committed to engaging with safety partners and young people to reverse the trend.
He added: “Deliberate fire-setting is a selfish, unacceptable and reckless act that will never be tolerated.
“It needlessly puts lives at risk and can affect properties, the local economy and the environment.
“Deliberate fire-setting is a priority area for the SFRS in North Ayrshire and we are not complacent about these findings.
“There is typically a close link between these incidents and anti-social behaviour and we will continue to work with our safety partners to engage with young people so they understand the potentially disastrous consequences of their actions.”