More people are being killed in fires in Scotland and the number of blazes is also on the rise, according to new figures.
A total of 45 people across the country were killed in fires in 2015-16 – four more than in 2014-15.
Fire investigators said six of those who died in 2015-16 were deemed to be suicides.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) report revealed the fire fatality rate in Scotland in 2015-16 was higher than England and Wales at 8.4 deaths per million of population, compared to 5.5 and 6.1 respectively. The service warned the relatively small numbers involved would make the fire fatality rate “a volatile measure”.
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said malicious calls were putting lives at risk. He said: “Malicious calls prevent the SFRS responding to genuine emergencies. We should be blunt about this – these calls are putting lives in danger.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “While the total number of fires responded to in 2015-16 was the second lowest in a decade, it was the second consecutive year we’ve seen fire incidents rise and we expect the SFRS to take action as needed to understand and manage any emerging upward trend.”