Firefighters continue to tackle 50 hectare mountain blaze in Machen, Caerphilly

Firefighters continue to tackle 50 hectare mountain blaze in Machen, Caerphilly

Firefighters remain at scene Machen Mountain this morning in Caerphilly following a series of suspected deliberate grassfires. Multiple reports of fires on the mountain were received over the weekend with crews using specialist equipment in difficult terrain to tackle the flames which has now spread over 50 hectares of grassland.

Multiple Fire Service vehicles have been in attendance including deployment of a firefighting helicopter, fire engines, off-road vehicles and the Service’s Wildfire Units. This morning Natural Resources Wales have provided heavy plant machinery to create fire breaks to stop the fire spreading down the mountainsides. Our 999 control room have received approximately 424 calls to Machen Mountain since Thursday. We understand the fires are causing a heavy amount of smoke in the areas nearby and residents have been advised to close windows and doors as a safety precaution.

In the past week our crews have attended over 160 suspected deliberate grassfires across South Wales. 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. The majority of these fires have required the attendance of multiple appliances, use of critical equipment and the movement of resources.  As a Service we have well-rehearsed plans in place to respond to incidents of this nature and are working with our partners to best protect the communities we serve.

We are immensely proud of our staffs hard work and commitment to demonstrate our mission in keeping South Wales safe. From those providing 24/7 cover within our 999 control room to those working above and alongside the firefighters who are risking their lives at the scene. We also worked closely with our partners including police, the local authority and Natural Resources Wales who through our collaboration assisted with a helicopter which was crucial in our effective response.

We would also like to say a special thank you to the local residents who supported us throughout, even offering our firefighters tackling the blaze water and snacks.

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.

Once again we would urge anyone who has information on grass fires, or who sees anything suspicious to contact 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.  If you see a grass fire, or anyone starting a grass fire, please call 999 immediately.