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Fire crews called to over 30 grass fires over bank holiday weekend

12 Apr 2023 3 minute read
A blaze in Pentrebach destroyed 10 hectares of grass, shrubs and bracken – Photo: South Wales Fire and Rescue

Emily Price

Over the bank holiday weekend South Wales Fire and Rescue crews attended 32 grass fires across south Wales placing  unnecessary strain on emergency services, damaging the environment and putting lives at risk.

One such fire in Merthyr Tydfil which began on Easter Sunday burned the mountainside black from Pentrebach to Troedyrhiw as fire crews attempted to battle the blaze which spread quickly from one village to the next.

Crews attended the scene from both Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil fire stations and worked to stop the fire spreading to nearby communities.

Eventually officers took the decision to allow the fire to burn itself out as it no longer posed a risk to properties, but crew members remained nearby to perform regular inspections.

The visible damage covered an area of approximately 10 hectares and could be seen from the opposite side of the valley in Nant Y Coed, Troedyrhiw.

Thick black smoke filled the air for many hours with residents in nearby Merthyr Vale complaining of the smell of burning on Monday morning.

The impact of grass fires can be devastating for Welsh wildlife, annihilating habitats, destroying food sources and permanently scaring the beautiful landscape.


BBC Springwatch presenter and ornithologist, Iolo Williams said: “I’m horrified to see so many grass fires in south Wales.

“At this time of year, many upland birds are already nest building, and reptiles such as common lizards have emerged from hibernation and are making the most of the early spring sunshine.

“When you add all the invertebrates, amphibians, mammals and plants to this list, you begin to realise the true damage caused by these fires.”

Fire beaters

A spokesperson from South Wales Fire and Rescue said: “At approximately 4:19pm on Sunday 9 April 2023, we received reports of a grass fire on the mountain above Pentrebach in Merthyr Tydfil.

“Crews from Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil Stations attended the scene and utilised specialist equipment to manage the fire, including all-terrain vehicles and fire beaters.

“Approximately 10 hectares of grass, shrubs and bracken was involved in the fire. A stop message was received at approximately 8:15am on Monday 10 April 2023 after crews conducted a re-inspection of the scene.”

South Wales Fire and Rescue would not comment on how the fire was started due to ongoing investigations.

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