Police helicopter in Brecon Beacons grass fire probe

Police helicopter in Brecon Beacons grass fire probe

20 May 2011

published by www.bbc.co.uk

United Kingdom — Police will use a helicopter to assess if a grass fire in the Brecon Beacons National Park was started deliberately.

Park managers said 2,000 acres were destroyed earlier this month in the worst fires for 30 years.

The Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter will fly over the area next Thursday, when the extent of the damage will also be assessed.

Thermal imaging cameras will be used to see if some peat bogs are still burning.

The park said the police would use the helicopter to try and work out whether the fires were deliberately set.

For three days, nearly 2,000 acres of upland common and peat bog burned in the fire in the Beacons between Trapp, Brynamman and Llandeilo.

The national park said the area destroyed was a site of special scientific interest and one of its priority habitats, and would take years to restore.

Hundreds of eggs from nesting birds, red grouse, voles, hares, moles and hen harriers also perished in the flames.

The national park said if the fires were started deliberately it would represent a “huge wildlife crime”.

Soldiers from the Infantry Battle School in Brecon, including some Gurkhas, helped fire crews and wardens fight the blaze.

Earlier this month, fire chiefs said they hoped to see prosecutions after tackling about 300 grass and gorse fires over a few days, many started deliberately.

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