UK — AS warmer weather takes hold and with spring in sight, South Wales firefighters are facing up to another dreaded round of destructive grass fires.
Last night, several blazes had to be extinguished across the Valleys in the middle of the school half-term.
There was a large grass fire in Mount Pleasant, Troedyrhiw, as well as on the Pant Industrial Estate near a Kwik Save store and in Garw Nant, to the north of Merthyr Tydfil.
A spokeswoman for the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: Its always, always the same but its unbelievable this has happened so early in the year.
As soon as theres a bit of sun we seem to get youngsters setting light to anything they can get their hands on, whether it be grass, wooden pallets, boxes or discarded material from factories and industrial sites.
Our firefighters have to go out and tackle these needless blazes and be diverted from potentially more life-threatening incidents.
This latest spate, so early in February, is a depressing warning for the months ahead.
Last year, the Echo reported how 1,119 blazes, during a two-week period over the Easter school holidays, cost the taxpayer a staggering £2.2m.
However, the fire service is planning a much stronger campaign to make youngsters aware of the dangers caused by arson attacks and the cost of dealing with such fires.
During the first week of March we will be launching a new DVD, to be sent out to comprehensive schools in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf, outlining the devastation which can result from these fires, said the spokeswoman.
Its much more hard-hitting than anything weve done in the past and there are some strong messages for youngsters.
This situation has to be improved and people have got to be warned.