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Firefighters call on farmers to help tackle grass fires in south Wales

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is calling on the farming community to help tackle grass fires, by burning away excess grass on their land.

On Thursday 22nd March, firefighters will be holding their first partnership burn with a farmer in Rhymney Valley; a move that is hoped will encourage more farmers and landowners to develop safe and effective “burn plans”.

In 2017, there were 80 accidental and 1073 deliberate grass fires across south Wales and this innovative move, drawing on proven successful methods from around the world, will be championed by four specialist Controlled Burn Teams based at Merthyr, Tonypandy, Aberdare and Aberbargoed Stations.

Del Llewellyn, Landowner Engagement Officer for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “While we already use many tried and tested ways to engage with the public around the issue of grass fires, this is the very first time we will work directly with a farmer to look at the problem.

“The extent of a wildfire is due to a number of factors; one being the amount of fuel available to burn. By removing this fuel, and working with farmers and landowners, this process can be done in a safe and controlled manner.

“Alongside our awareness and prevention work in communities, working with farmers and landowners in this way really has the potential to reduce the number of grass fires, which cause so much damage and destruction across our communities each year.”

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is part of Dawns Glaw, a multi-agency task force set up to reduce the number of deliberate grass fires in Wales. The operation educates landowners about the dangers and impact of illegal burning outside of the prescribed period, and raises awareness about the consequences of deliberate grass fires, that can result in prosecution.