RHONDDA Cynon Taf Council is supporting South Wales Fire and Rescue as part of Operation Dawns Glaw, a task force set up to reduce the number of deliberate fires.
Operation Dawns Glaw, a multi-agency task force of specialists from key agencies across Wales has reformed to reduce, and where possible, eliminate the impact of grass fires across Wales.
Deliberate fires put firefighters lives in danger, pose a risk to the community and can cause significant damage to property and the environment.
The task force, which was initially established in 2016 to tackle the incidents of deliberately set grass fires across Wales, will also be turning its attention to the increase in accidental fires, often caused as a result of careless behaviour when out enjoying the countryside.
The Council and its partners are urging residents to please take extra care when enjoying our picturesque scenery and to help us to protect our natural surroundings.
Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Chair of Operation Dawns Glaw, said:
“While we know that the warm weather we experienced during the early summer months last year will have contributed to the slight increase in grass fires across Wales, we also know that the number of fires caused accidentally increased as well.
“While accidents do happen, they are also avoidable and this year’s campaign will focus on educating us all on some of the small steps we can take to ensure we don’t accidentally cause grass fires to ignite.
“I would also like to take the opportunity to reinforce our messages that while accidents can happen, there are others within our communities who are deliberately setting fire to our countryside.
“Not only is this a crime, for which they will be prosecuted, but it also places unnecessary pressure on frontline services and puts our communities in harm’s way.”
During 2020, Fire and Rescue Services across Wales dealt with 2,253 grass fires. Whilst this was a slight increase on 2019, the number of accidental fires in 2020 had increased by 20 per cent.
This increase has in part been attributed to the number of people who spent the spring and summer months enjoying the local countryside due to the lockdown measures in place as a result of the global pandemic.
In 2021, due to many more people than ever before spending their holidays in Wales, the task force is keen to make sure that we all do so safely, protecting our precious countryside, its wildlife and habitats, which we are so proud to have on our doorsteps.
The deliberate setting of grass fires by any means is totally irresponsible and unacceptable, especially at a time of increased pressure.
These fires are not only an incredible drain on resources, they also severely damage our beautiful surroundings for many years, and cause the unnecessary loss of wildlife.
Diverting vital resources to deal with deliberate fires will draw fundamental and valuable resources away from our communities, placing unnecessary risk on lives.
Anyone with information on suspected deliberate fires, or who witness anything suspicious, should call 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you see a fire, or anyone starting a fire, please call 999 immediately.