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Arsonists set grass fires as sun shines.

Byline: Tyler Mears Reporter tyler.mears@walesonline.co.uk

A NUMBER of deliberately set wildfires spread across mountains and forestries in Wales on what was one of the hottest days of the year so far. South Wales Fire and Rescue service were called out to more than 10 fires throughout the course of Wednesday afternoon.

There were also fires across Mid and West Wales and a fire which spread over an area the size of 12 football pitches in North Wales.

Jennie Griffiths, head of the joint fire control for South and Mid and West Wales Fire Services, said: "A number of deliberately lit wildfires across the @ SWFireandRescue mountains and forestries yesterday I'm sorry to say."

She added: "16 fire appliances are fighting grass across South Wales, we need your help to stop this. Report anyone seen lighting these fires. Please."

A Twitter account set up by the fire service to prevent grass fires tweeted: "Grass fires can be enormous and may quickly change directions. They move over 6mph and can jump over natural gaps such as roads."

In Rhondda Cynon Taff around 10 hectares of grass, the equivalent of around 10 rugby fields, was well alight above forestry in Porth at around 4.06pm.

Two fire engines from Tonypandy and Gilfach Goch were called to the scene and fought the blaze for around two-and-a-half hours using beaters.

Two appliances from Pontypridd were also called to the Graig after reports of a five hectare grass fire and a slightly damaged car.

The fire later spread and firefighters had to tackle around 10 hectares of vegetation and bracken for around three hours.

The blaze was fuelled by high winds and crews had to use beaters to tackle the fire.

An even bigger fire, around 80 hectares (almost the size of 80 rugby fields), was deliberately set in Maerdy at around 9.47pm.

Six fire engines were called to the scene and tackled the blaze for more than two-and-a-half hours.

One hectare of grassland was also destroyed by a deliberately set fire near a golf club in Ystrad at around 10.28pm and Tonypandy crews attended.

Grass and tress stretching for four hectares were deliberately destroyed by a wildfire near the water towers in Clydach Vale at 10.58pm."

In Mountain Ash crews attended two separate mountain fires. Two crews from Aberdare were at Darren Las and a further two appliances attended Copplestone Street at around 8.04pm.

One of the fires spread to around 10 hectares of grass and trees but fire-fighters eventually managed to get the blaze under control.

Andrew Morgan, the leader of RCT council, tweeted: "Few days dry weather and back to mountain fires.

"Three fires above Darren Las in Mountain Ash tonight.

"Been informed South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are aware and are on the mountain. Lots of concerned residents though."

In the Vale of Glamorgan three crews attended after eight hectares of grass and bracken was destroyed by a "well alight" wildfire which was deliberately set in Aberthin at 10.23pm.

CAPTION(S):

A wildfire in Mountain Ash on Wednesday

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 22, 2016
Words:515
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