Wales

Grass fires summit: Minister hails 'tremendous' community response

Fire in Ynyshir, Rhondda Cynon Taff Image copyright @JohnBulin59/Twitter
Image caption John Bulpin captured this image from his microlight aircraft of a fire in Ynyshir, Rhondda Cynon Taff

Communities in south Wales are "fed up" of grass fires and want to get involved to stop the "unacceptable behaviour", a grass fires summit has been told.

The meeting of police, fire services and public bodies came after fire crews in south Wales tackled 900 blazes in March and April.

The summit heard neighbourhood patrols and CCTV would be used to detect arsonists.

The new measures would not require extra funding, the summit heard.

Minister for Public Services Leighton Andrews said mobilising communities was part of the answer.

"I think the thing that people were particularly heartened by was the tremendous response there has been from the community", he said.

"They're coming forward themselves to make clear that this is unacceptable behaviour and they want to get involved themselves in protecting our hillsides."

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Media captionLeighton Andrews said people are 'fed up' of grass fires

He added that that the response would focus on "education, enforcement and detection".

A fire crime chief has previously called for more prosecutions to tackle the problem.

Following a spate of deliberately started blazes across Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf council areas, the charity Crimestoppers has offered a £5,000 reward for information about the crimes.

Image copyright Kayle Garkut
Image caption A blaze which was deliberately started in Machen, Caerphilly
Image caption A fire at Godre'r Graig, between Pontardawe and Ystalyfera, on 21 April

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