Firefighters called to nearly 80 suspected deliberate grass fires in just one weekend.

Firefighters called to nearly 80 suspected deliberate grass fires in just one weekend.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service crews have seen a rise in wildfires this weekend as they attended nearly 80 deliberate grass fires from Friday to Sunday.

The majority of these fires have required the attendance of multiple appliances, use of critical equipment and the movement of resources. This usually includes multiple fire engines, specialist wildfire vehicles and a helicopter at the scene working in partnership with police colleagues, Natural Resources Wales and the local authority.

One incident, suspected as deliberate, burned a short distance from Abercarn Station, putting essential fire and rescue service personnel and facilities at risk, with another incident burning over 11 hectares putting livestock and property in jeopardy.

Our Fire Crime Unit have been working tirelessly in partnership with Operation Dawns Glaw, a multi-agency taskforce made up of specialists from key agencies across Wales which aims to reduce, and where possible, eliminate the impact of grass fires across Wales.

Head Of Community Safety and Partnerships, Dean Loader, said: “This weekend our crews have attended many grass fires across south Wales which we believe have been started deliberately. Some of the fires have been incredibly demanding and has seen our crews working in challenging conditions to ensure the fire does not spread and impact the local community and further damage the surrounding area and wildlife.

Diverting our resources to deal with deliberate fires will draw fundamental and valuable resources away from our communities, placing unnecessary risk to life. This needs to stop.”

Sergeant Andy Jones, Communities and Partnerships, South Wales Police: “Sadly, over the weekend we lost many acres of our beautiful landscape to deliberate grassfires. Every grass fire poses a serious risk to the public and to property and the emergency services are doing everything they can to tackle this issue. I would like to pay tribute to our fire service colleagues who are working tirelessly to limit the damage caused. The demand upon the fire service is huge and their abilities to respond effectively to other emergencies can be hampered. Our officers are out patrolling every and they are making use of drones, CCTV equipment and bikes to cover as much ground as they can. But they cannot be everywhere at once. The onus is upon the public – my plea is for everyone to make a stand now, to prevent further damage and to avoid a potential tragedy which could be just one grassfire away. Anybody who suspects they know somebody who is responsible should contact 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency and never put yourself at risk.”

Starting a deliberate grass fire is not only crime which you could be prosecuted for, but it also places unnecessary strain on our emergency service resources, causes environmental and property damage and puts lives at risk.

With lockdown restrictions easing across Wales, we would like to remind people to remain vigilant and please think about the consequences before deliberately starting a fire. What may seem like a bit of fun can quickly spread to become out of control.

We 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.

If you see a fire, or anyone starting a fire, please call 999 immediately