Dry weather warning during fire strike in Wales

Fire brigade banner Around 300 people took part in a march supporting fire fighters in Cardiff last month

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Fire chiefs warned the public to take extra care in the dry weather, as the sunny spells coincided with the latest firefighters' strike.

The action took place between 1000 and 1700 BST as part of an ongoing national dispute over pension reforms.

People were urged to take care with barbecues and warned of the risk of accidentally starting grass fires.

The Welsh government said it was working with the fire authorities to minimise the impact of the strikes.

South Wales Fire and Rescue urged vigilance and issued safety advice, while North Wales Fire and Rescue warned because of the circumstances "services may be limited".

Before the strike, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it had a number of staff who were not FBU-affiliated who would work as usual. It urged people to dial 999 in an emergency.

Assistant chief fire officer Rob Quin said: "During the summer grass and mountains can become very dry which means if you deliberately or accidentally start a fire outdoors it will spread very quickly destroying everything in its path.

"A lot of people will be thinking about having a barbecue over the weekend and you need to make sure you have it in a suitable and safe area, never leave unattended and always extinguish properly."

Scene of crash on the A44 The fire service have also warned about vigilance on the roads after last Tuesday's crash

The fire service also warned motorists to be vigilant on the roads, in a week in which four members of a family were killed in a tanker crash on the A44 between Llangurig in Powys and Ponterwyd in Ceredigion.

After the seven-hour strike, the service said it had attended nine incidents, including a fire and a flood.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Richie Prendergast said he was pleased with how South Wales Fire and Rescue Service had managed its services.

"As expected, the number of firefighters from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service who chose to strike was high, which resulted in a large reduction in the resources that we had at our disposal.

'Constructive meetings'

"As such, we were unable to provide the same high level of response to incidents as we normally would and as a consequence prioritised our response to those in most critical need."

The FBU was taking part in its 14th strike since last September. It wants firefighters to be allowed to retire earlier than other workers from the physically demanding job.

Matt Wrack, general secretary called for a "more affordable, workable and fair pension scheme than is currently on offer" for Wales and England.

The Welsh government said it was committed to collective pensions arrangements which follow similar approaches to those being taken elsewhere in the UK.

"We continue to work with the three fire and rescue authorities on contingency plans to minimise the impact this strike will have on Wales," said a spokesman.

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