Fires spotted on Carningli mountain, near Newport earlier this month were set deliberately, it has been revealed.

The controlled burn on the mountain was overseen by fire fighters. In early March, members of the Pembrokeshire Community Fire Safety team and Haverfordwest Fire Station visited Carningli Mountain to oversee preparation works and a control burn, in readiness for the summer and as part of responsible land management.

During their first visit of the week, they saw firebreaks being cut by a remote-controlled ‘iCutter’ flail, which can cut grass, weeds, shrubs and branches. Working in conjunction with the Carningli Graziers Association and rangers from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, areas were being prepared for prescribed burning.

Western Telegraph: Fire fighters, the Carningli Graziers Association and rangers from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with the icutter which was part of the controlled burn. Fire fighters, the Carningli Graziers Association and rangers from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with the icutter which was part of the controlled burn. (Image: MAWWFRS)

On the second visit, the Graziers Association carried out a controlled burn and were joined and assisted by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), with the prescribed area lit in a controlled manner and supervised throughout.

Although these fires were above board, every year, fire is responsible for the destruction of thousands of hectares of countryside, open space, and wildlife habitats. This year, from the beginning of January to mid-March alone, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) has attended 84 grass fires.


Last summer’s record high temperatures also led to MAWWFRS attending hundreds of grassfires, with more than half of these reported as being deliberate.

In July last year, the popular coastal resort of Newgale was turned black as fire tore through the dry undergrowth twice, destroying 11 hectares of countryside and numerous wildlife habitats. The most likely source of ignition seems to have been a discarded barbecue.

Western Telegraph: Newgale before last summer's fires.Newgale before last summer's fires. (Image: MAWWFRS)

August proved to be an even busier month for MAWWFRS, with a wildlife incident near Whitesands caused by a discarded glass bottle, as well as yet another major grassfire in Newgale – this time burning 60 hectares and requiring the assistance of crews from as far afield as Brecon and Llandrindod Wells.

“Although the landscapes and wildlife are expected to fully recover over time, these incidents form part of a more worrying pattern of climate change, where changing conditions are aiding the spread of fires and on a far more frequent basis,” said a fire service spokesperson.

Western Telegraph: The same view at Newgale after the devastating fires.The same view at Newgale after the devastating fires. (Image: MAWWFRS)

The spokesperson advised people to think about how to prevent grass fires as the weather warms up, They should avoid lighting barbecues or light fires in national parks, including beaches; extinguish cigarettes and other smoking material properly; clear away bottles, glasses, and any broken glass to avoid them magnifying the sun and starting a fire and explain to children the dangers of playing with and lighting fires.

MAWWFRS has recently reformed Operation Dawns Glaw, a multi-agency taskforce of specialists from key agencies across Wales committed to reducing, and where possible eliminating, the impact of grass fires across Wales. More information on #DawnsGlaw can be found here.

Starting a deliberate fire is a criminal offence. You can report a deliberate fire anonymously by calling Cymru/Wales CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111. In an emergency, always call 999.

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