The True Cost Of Wild Fires
The Council is once again joining forces with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) in a bid to raise awareness to the dangers of grass fires.
In the past few weeks, fire fighters have tackled two major grass fires in Rhondda Cynon Taf on the mountainsides at both Maerdy and Rhigos, destroying more than 130 hectares of land. Both fires spread rapidly due to strong winds.
Fire crews have also tackled mountain fires in Gilfach Goch and Carnetown in Rhondda Cynon Taf; whilst a number of other incidents have been attended to across the wider valleys region, with fires at Brynmenyn (Bridgend), Treharris (Merthyr Tydfil), and Pontardawe (Neath and Port Talbot).
Not only are grass fires a danger to the environment and wildlife, but they also put human lives at risk - and those caught deliberately starting grass fires will be faced with a criminal record for life.
Those responsible could be punished with up to two years in prison
or receive a £5,000 fine.
The Council continues to work in partnership with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service through the Bernie Project, which was designed and created by the young people of Tonypandy Community College to help reduce the number of deliberate grass fires.
The Bernie Project is a partnership approach between South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, the Forestry Commission, Cardiff University, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Community Safety Partnerships, South Wales Police, RCT Trading Standards, Communities First, Probation Services, RCT CCTV and E3.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “Grass fires have a huge impact on our local communities and environment and are very difficult for the Fire and Rescue Service to tackle.
“These often deliberate acts put a significant and wholly unnecessary strain on our emergency services, and with local fire services attending deliberate grass fire incidents, there could be a delay in responding to other serious emergencies such as property fires or road traffic collisions.
“Grass fires put so much at risk – the devastation of our environment, wildlife, the lives of the firefighters who tackle these blazes, and also each and every one of us in our communities.
“Aside from the obvious dangers, it is worth stressing that even once a blaze has been extinguished, then the affected ground is still burning and this presents a huge danger to wildlife or those hiking or walking, especially with their pets, across the area.
“But the Council is continuing to work in partnership with South Wales Fire and Rescue to raise awareness of this serious issue and I would also urge anyone with any information on those responsible for the recent spate of fires to contact the Council or South Wales Police.”