THE relaxation of lockdown rules from “stay home” to “stay local” at the end of May has seen a steep rise in grass fires.

Since the announcement was made on Friday, May 29, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) has attended 98 grass fires that have either been started deliberately or were accidental.

MAWWFRS is working in partnership with local authorities, Dyfed Powys Police, Natural Resources Wales and Cadw in a bid to tackle this issue and to protect the historic environment, natural habitat and surrounding countryside.

A huge fire in the Teifi Valley destroyed more than 200 hectares of forest and grassland and burned for several days, with plumes of smoke seen for miles around. Police are treating the fire as arson.

The fire services is urging members of the public to take precautions and to follow the safety advice below.

  • Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly - don’t throw them out of car windows
  • Only use barbeques in suitable and safe areas, never leave them unattended and always extinguish them properly
  • Don’t start fires in the countryside – dry vegetation means fires will spread quickly and easily
  • Make sure your BBQ is in good working order before you use it
  • ake sure let your BBQ cool down after use, before you dispose or move it
  • Never start open fires in the countryside

A MAWWFRS spokesman said: “We need to work together to support our communities during the Covid-19 epidemic, to ensure the safety of our family and friends, neighbours, members of the public and our emergency services.

“Deliberate grass fires reduce air quality as well as stretch valuable emergency services away from lifesaving incidents, so we appealing to everyone to help us to help them at this difficult time.

“If you see anyone setting deliberate fires, please call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. To report an ongoing grass fire, call 999 and ask for the fire service.”