Forest fire

Bridgend County Borough Council is advising residents to follow some simple rules to help prevent the spread of fires this summer, and to make sure that any suspicious activities are reported to the authorities.

The advice has been issued following a hillside fire last week above Pontycymmer in the Garw Valley which wa burning for several days – one of six blazes that crews from South Wales Fire and Rescue were dealing with simultaneously.

 

The Leader, Cllr Huw David said: “Figures released by South Wales Fire and Rescue have revealed that since 1 April, they have already responded to more than 400 grassfires and wildfires which have been set deliberately, including 75 which all took place within a single seven-day period.

“These have destroyed miles of natural habitat, have left behind a trail of significant damage, have threatened property, and have put the lives of residents as well as firefighters at risk.

“We understand that the fire in the Garw Valley is in a location where it is dangerous for crews to work once night has fallen, but that they are using a mix of conventional tactics, airborne tactical support and traditional firefighting skills to deal with the blaze.

“Tactical burn teams have been deployed as part of the response, and crews are also working closely with land management staff from Natural Resources Wales to try and contain the fire and limit its spread.

“Dealing with multiple fires means that crews cannot be in two places at the same time, and this further puts lives at risk. This is why we are urging residents to follow a set of straightforward rules that can help avoid accidental fires, and to also contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report anyone they think may be trying to deliberately start a blaze.”

 

Advice for residents

 

Be mindful of open flames

  • Avoid discarding lit cigarettes, matches, or any other flaming objects in grassy areas.
  • Dispose of them responsibly in designated containers.

 

Never leave fires unattended

  • If you are camping or having a barbecue, ensure that your fire is properly extinguished before leaving the area.
  • Douse it with water, stir the ashes, and repeat the process until there are no embers left.

 

Avoid unnecessary outdoor burning

  • Refrain from burning garden waste or any other materials in open spaces.
  • Instead, consider alternative methods of disposal, such as composting or recycling.
  • Avoid any controlled burning during these prolonged periods of dry weather.

 

Report suspicious activities

  • If you notice any suspicious behaviour or see someone intentionally starting a fire, contact the SW Police or report the information anonymously to Crimestoppers on  0800 555 111.
  • Your timely reporting can help prevent a potentially catastrophic event.

 

Stay informed

  • Pay attention to local weather conditions, particularly heatwaves and drought warnings.
  • Follow advice and restrictions issued by relevant authorities regarding outdoor activities and fire safety.

 

Educate children about fire safety

  • Speak to your children and teach them about the dangers of playing with fire and the potential consequences.
  • Encourage them to report any fire-related concerns to a responsible adult.

 

For more advice, visit the hot weather page at the South Wales Fire And Rescue Service website.

Stock image, Deposit Photos