New project to help tackle grass fires

Firefighters fighting grass fire
Fire services have received hundreds of calls to grass fires in the last week Photo: South Wales Fire and Rescue

The unseasonably hot weather in Wales over the past week has meant the country's Fire and Rescue Services have received hundreds of calls to grass fires. Every spring the three Welsh Fire and Rescue Services fight a huge number of deliberate grass and mountain fires that put lives at risk.

Welsh fire services say they have been called out to hundreds of grass fires since the beginning of the recent dry spell. They are warning people to take extra care as the weather is forecast to remain dry.

South Wales Fire and Rescue - 102 fires since SundayMid and West Wales Fire and Rescue - 340 calls to fires since SaturdayNorth Wales Fire and Rescue - 52 fires since Thursday

30 firefighters were called to a property in Ystalyfera, near Swansea, at 1710 hrs yesterday evening after a grass fire spread to two properties.

The fire in Woodmans Terrace is said to have severely damaged a single storey property as well as a detached two storey building. No one was injured.

Fire fighters will work across three strands as part of 'Project Wildfire'

The aim of 'Operation Wildfire' is to ensure that Firefighters have the most up to date and effective equipment available to them, to successfully tackle any deliberate grass and mountain fires while protecting operational Firefighters on the ground. The purchase of Argocat all terrain vehicles with fogging units has improved the way in which fires may be attacked. Also significant investment in training has enabled the 3 services to train together and produce a Standard Operating Procedure for Wildfire which supports interoperability between services.

– Operation Wildfire, Bernie Project and Controlled Burning

The grass fire season started in earnest last weekend South Wales Fire and Rescue Service says one hundred of its call-outs over the weekend were for grass fires, including one on Sunday at Rhonnda Fawr where a blaze had broken out on the mountain overlooking Treorchy.

Grass Fire
Fire on Saturday at Rhondda Fach Credit: South Wales Fire and Rescue

Mid and West Wales Fire Service will start working with Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

to try and reduce the number of grass fires in the Valleys of South Wales over the Easter period.

The strong partnership that has been developed between the Fire and Rescue Services and Forestry Commission is ensuring the grass fires that plagues south Wales every year are being dealt with in an efficient manor

– Peter Cloke, Forest District Manager Forestry Commission Wale

The main message from fire fighters is that if someone is caught or proved to be deliberating starting grass or mountain fires, the Fire and Rescue Service, in partnership with the Police will prosecute them - this can lead to a £5000 fine and two years in prison if convicted.