Machen mountain fire suspected to be deliberate blazes spread 50 hectares

Fire crews remain at a mountain near Caerphilly after a series of fires, believed to have been deliberately started.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service were still at Mynydd Machen near Cross Keys on Tuesday morning after receiving callouts for multiple blazes in the area since Thursday.

Crews have had to use specialist equipment to combat the fires, which have spread over 50 hectares - roughly the size of 70 football pitches.

People close to the area have been advised to close their windows and doors as a safety precaution due to the large amount of smoke.

Fire crews have tackled multiple grassfires on Machen mountain across four days.
Flames continued to light up the sky on Monday evening. Credit: Ben Cottam

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said their control room has received around 424 calls about Machen mountain since Thursday.

The rescue service confirmed it received reports of a grassfire at Machen mountain on Saturday 24 April. While this fire was extinguished on Sunday morning, it received another callout later that morning.

Similarly, crews were then called out yet again to another blaze on the mountain on Monday evening.

South Wales Fire and Rescue reassured that is has "well-rehearsed plans in place to respond to incidents of this nature". Credit: South Wales Fire and Rescue

Multiple Fire Service vehicles have been involved in the operation, including a helicopter, fire engines and off-road vehicles.

Natural Resources Wales provided heavy plant machinery to create fire breaks to stop flames spreading down the mountainsides.

Locals posted pictures of smoke and flames on the hills on Monday evening. A helicopter was still attempting to douse the remaining fire on Tuesday morning.

  • Flames were still being spotted on Monday evening

One local resident praised the efforts of the fire and rescue teams and said: "They have been tremendous...we are so lucky to have them."

Crews were still in attendance dealing with the "ongoing" fire at around 10am on Tuesday.

One local resident said the situation had improved since Monday evening as helicopters had been dousing water continuously. Credit: Elena Pacini Phipps
The grassfires are suspected to have been deliberately caused

A spokesperson for the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: "Wildfires impact our communities across Wales and draw fundamental and valuable resources away from our communities, placing unnecessary risk on lives.

"The impact of grass fires is devastating on the environment killing animals and destroying wildlife habitat as we have already seen in multiple areas across South Wales.

"We will continue to work with our communities to reduce the risk and impact of grass fires, however we would remind people to please refrain from the use of any open flame fires in such areas to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading due to the increased warm and dry weather."

They added that they are "immensely proud" of all their staff's hard work and also gave "a special thank you to the local residents" who have supported crews and brought them food and snacks.

Over the past week, the South Wales fire crews attended more than 160 suspected deliberate grassfires.

Gwent Police officers said on social media that they had been working with the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service to use drones to increase patrols in the area following multiple incidents in Torfaen, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent.

They said: "Several deliberate grassfires have been reported yesterday in the Torfaen, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent areas."To help deter and detect this activity we have been supporting South Wales Fire and Rescue Service today with patrols of identified areas utilising drone technology."

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service attended more than 160 suspected deliberate grassfires over the past week.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service urge anyone who has information on suspected deliberate fires, or who sees anything suspicious to contact 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.