Wales

'Lack of land management' contributed to Llantysilio fire

Grass fire Image copyright Gareth Taylor
Image caption The fire lasted from 19 July until 25 September last year

A report into a "devastating" mountain fire found a "lack of robust land management" contributed towards the duration of the fire.

The fire broke out on Llantysilio mountain, Denbighshire, on 19 July and lasted until 25 September 2018.

It damaged 290 hectares (715 acres) of land at the Horseshoe Pass and involved 60 firefighters at its height.

The report said the incident would have benefited from being designated as an "emergency incident".

In March, a hearing was told the fire could have been stopped in its first few days and the fire service could have taken more decisive action.

Councillor Huw O Williams, chair of Denbighshire County Council's Communities Scrutiny Committee, said the mountain habitat suffered "catastrophic damage".

The report said after reviewing evidence, they were unable to conclude whether the fire was accidental or deliberate.

Image caption The blaze affected a huge area and led to road closures on the Horseshoe Pass near Llangollen

The fire's "effect was devastating" due to a "perfect storm" of atmospheric and ground conditions which meant the fire burned above and below ground for an extensive period of time.

Published on Thursday, the report concluded land management difficulties over an extended period of time contributed towards the length of time the fire burned.

The report set out a number of recommendations including strengthening multi-agency work when responding to similar incidents; coordinating land management activities in moorland areas and seeking the Welsh Government's support to maintain the economic and environmental sustainability of upland moorland areas.

"The purpose of this review was not to apportion blame on any individual, service, organisation or group... but to better understand and learn from the event to help improve the response and management of similar incidents in future," Mr O Williams, said.

He thanked the agencies who tackled the "difficult" fire.

Chief fire officer Simon Smith added: "We strongly believe that fire prevention is key to mitigating against such incidents and that all stakeholders should work together in this regard."

Image copyright Emma Howe
Image caption Sixty firefighters were involved at its height

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