South Wales Fire and Rescue Service crews have seen a rise in wildfires this weekend as they attend nearly 70 deliberate grass fires from Friday to Sunday.
Large fires included Garn Wen in Maesteg, Fox Hill in Rhiwderin, Trealaw area of Tonypandy and Penrhys in Ferndale. 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.
Deliberate fires are unacceptable at any time, but during a time of national crisis emergency service resources are critical in protecting the public. Wildfires are extremely dangerous and can spread extremely quickly putting lives in danger, causing significant damage to property and the environment including causing harm to wildlife.
The fires also give off thick swathes of smoke which can increase the risk to the elderly and vulnerable people with medical conditions. Healthcare professionals have highlighted the dangers of smoke caused by grass fires to COVID-19 sufferers who may be living nearby.
To tackle this problem we are working with our partners across Wales as part of Operation Dawns Glaw, a taskforce set up to reduce the number of deliberate fires. While we remain committed to delivering an effective and efficient emergency response across South Wales, these fires are a drain emergency service resources placing unnecessary risk on lives.
We would 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.