Thousands set to watch spectacular fireworks displays light up sky

THE skies above the Capital will explode in a cascade of colour tonight as the city marks the 405th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot in spectacular style.

Meadowbank Sports Centre will once again be hosting the largest public fireworks exhibition in the Lothians and tickets - costing 6 - are still available.

Pre-show entertainment will be provided by DJ Big Al from 6.30pm and a free visitors' pass for the sports centre accompanies each ticket.

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Meanwhile, a 2000-strong crowd is expected to turn out for the display at the Pentlands tonight from 6pm. A bonfire will be lit at Pentland Community Centre in Oxgangs Brae while the children's play park will form the firework launching pad.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service will have extra crews on duty to cope with an expected rise in incidents. This is mainly caused by impromptu bonfires, which can inflict a large strain on resources. Last year, the service received 1171 call-outs in the week from October 31 to November 7, including 239 bonfires. Violence against fire crews also escalates during this period.

Community safety manager David Lockhart urged people to attend organised, supervised events, and appealed for greater respect for firefighters.

He said: "This is our busiest time of year but sadly this is also the time when we see a rise in violence towards fire crews. We would like to make a plea to people to remember the vital role firefighters play in the community. Please talk to your children about the important job they do and the need to respect them.

"It is vital during this very busy period that firefighters can respond to emergency calls without the threat of violence or abuse from the very people they are trying to protect.

"In a bid to reduce the number of call-outs to bonfires we are urging people to attend supervised events. We are frequently called out to extinguish uncontrolled or badly sited bonfires, putting pressure on resources for more serious incidents, including house fires and road accidents."