Firefighters across South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are currently tackling a large grass and mountain fire off theA4059 near Penderyn. There is approximately 500 hectares of heathland well alight being fanned by strong winds threatening forestry plantation.  

In attendance are four water ladders, two argocats, one helicopter, one water bowser and two officers (both wildfire trained). The first call for this incident was received at 0850. 

The fire is just one of a large number of grass fires that have taken place in the South Wales valleys over the last few days.  The fires, many of which are believed to have been started deliberately, were the latest in a spate of similar events that have taken place in the advent of the warmer, drier weather.  

Martin Henderson, Head of Risk Reduction, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service condemned deliberate grass fire setting, and said:"South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is joining with the Police and its other partners to crack down on those who deliberately set fires.  Anyone thinking about deliberately setting fire to the mountainside needs to realise that we will pull out all the stops to ensure that they are caught and could face prosecution.   

"The people responsible for starting these fires need to understand that the fires severely damage much of the countryside surrounding their communities and they are putting lives in danger as it can take us a few minutes longer to respond to incidents in the towns and villages of South Wales if we are on top of a mountain tackling a forest fire.

"Where land owners wish to undertake controlled burning of open land as part of their own land management, a code of practice exists and we are keen to work with landowners beforehand to ensure that we are ware that the controlled burning will be taking place and can provide landowners with safety advice and guidance". 

Chairman, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Cllr Anthony Ernestsaid: "As this has demonstrated, these fires are dangerous and unpredictable, and can quickly spread out of control.  Firefighters battle against them under arduous conditions, with fires spreading across difficult and sometimes inaccessible terrain." 

We would also ask people to report anyone they see deliberately lighting fires, or suspect of starting fires, by calling their local police station or telephoning Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 - all calls are completely confidential."  


Posted: 15.51pm, 21.04.11,