Wales, UK — Children in South Wales are being taken to their local woods this month as part of a drive to highlight the dangers of forest fires.
The campaign by Forestry Commission Wales and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service follows an unprecedented increase in grass, forest and moorland fires during 2006 and 2007.
Many of these are believed to have been started deliberately and secondary school pupils are being targeted in a bid to reverse the trend.
FC Wales education officer Amy Phillips and community ranger Jonathon Price are hosting visits to Kilvey and Penllergaer Woods, near Swansea, to bring home the reality of the damage forest fires can cause.
And fire-fighting classes, together with sessions aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of setting fires are taking place at Morriston Fire Station during the summerholidays.
Deliberately-started forest fires can have devastating consequences and we hope to give young people a taste of what will happen during a shout to a grass or forest fire, said Amy.
We want them to understand how quickly this can stretch the resources of the Fire and Rescue Service and the consequences for local people and wildlife of forest and grass fires.
Kenny MacDonald, community safety watch manager for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said, We are lucky to have such a wide diversity of woodland, heath and other areas of outstanding natural beauty in and around Swansea.
This joint programme is designed to promote the need to respect and look after our precious natural resources which, if damaged by fire, deliberate or otherwise, can take years to recover.
Fire crew can quickly become exhausted when dealing with deliberate grass and forestry fires.
These unnecessary acts cost us all, and can make the difference between a successful rescue or the death of an innocent person in a house fire.