Pembrokeshire County Council is supporting Operation Dawns Glaw, a multi-agency taskforce of specialists from key agencies which aims to reduce, and where possible eliminate the impact of grass fires across Wales.
Due to many more people than ever before spending their holidays in Wales, the taskforce 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.
Initially established in 2016 to tackle deliberately set grass fires across Wales, the taskforce is now also turning its attention to the increase in accidental fires, often caused as a result of people’s careless behaviour when they are out enjoying the countryside.
Last year, the number of accidental fires increased by 20 per cent across Wales.
“While accidents do happen, they are also avoidable and this year’s campaign will focus on some of the small steps we can take to ensure we don’t accidentally cause grass fires to ignite,” said Mydrian Harries, Chair of Operation Dawns Glaw and Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
To avoid starting a grass fire by accident:
• Don’t light fires in the countryside. Discard cigarettes responsibly.
• Do not light campfires and only have barbeques where signs say you can. Never leave a barbeque unattended and extinguish it properly after you have finished using it.
• Clear away bottles, glasses and any broken glass to avoid them magnifying the sun and starting a fire.
• Don’t throw cigarettes, matches or litter out of the window. They can cause fire.
• Explain to children the dangers of playing with and lighting fires.
• Don’t litter, discarded glass can cause fires.
Mydrian Harries added: “I would also like to take the opportunity to reinforce the message that while accidents can happen, there are others within our communities who are deliberately setting fire to our countryside.
“Not only this is 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.”
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.
Clr. David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, said: “We all have a responsibility when out enjoying ourselves in our beautiful countryside to avoid doing things which may lead to grass fires. Please follow the advice from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue service.”
Anyone with information on suspected deliberate fires, or who witnesses anything suspicious, should call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you see a fire, or anyone starting a fire, please call 999 immediately.