Grass fires a burning issue

Grass fires a burning issue

8 April 2007

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Wales, UK — Firefighters have seen 999 calls increase by 10 times since the start of the month as they battle against a rising number of grass fires.

Crews have had an incredible 3,000 calls over the last six days, said South Wales Fire Service’s Mike Flanagan.

He appealed directly to youngsters who he said were largely responsible for the blazes.

“We would say, ‘Look it’s just not cool to light a fire on the mountains, it really isn’t’,” Mr Flanagan said.

On Thursday night, fire crews in South Wales attended 85 emergency calls dealing with grass fires alone, headded.

One was on a mountain at Nantyglo in Blaenau Gwent, while in North Wales crews battled through the night on Wednesday to tackle blazes across 700 square metres of National Trust land in Conwy.

“A fire on a mountain can be as difficult for us to deal with as a medium-sized commercial premises or a school or a large shop” Mr Flanagan explained, adding that one firefighter had collapsed with heat exhaustion on Friday night.

He said fighting the fires was depleting resources and killing a lot of wildlife.

Mr Flanagan said the fire service would be co-operating with police who would be using helicopters this weekend to try to identify people in hotspots responsible for setting the grass fires.

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