UK — More than 730 grass fires have been started deliberately across South Wales in this month alone, according to the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service.
Cameraman Dai Baker and I were on Trebanog mountain in the Rhondda valley this afternoon to witness the latest fire sweep across the mountainside.
It started around 1pm. The fire service estimated it stretched across a quarter of mile of mountainside by early afternoon. It was still going into the evening and spreading across the valley.
As we were filming, another fire started beyond a housing estate visible in the distance, itself overlooking another mountain side completely blackened by a previous fire started at the weekend.
Fire crews from the local Porth station battled all afternoon to control the Trebanog fire, with a helicopter repeatedly dumping water on the area, but the wind swept it down into a nearby valley and up the hillside beyond.
As the fire service respond, politicians demand action.
The First Minister Carwyn Jones will meet with key players, said the Welsh government, in a summit next week designed to tackle the outbreak.
In a statement on Tuesday the public services minister Leighton Andrews said tackling “this menace must mean much more than just fighting fires or prosecuting offenders. It needs robust action at the community level to divert people away from setting fires, and to identify and expose those who do.”
South Wales Fire & Rescue Service tweeted out earlier today: “the challenge for today is a grass fire free day”. That goal is looking ominously elusive right now.