Gorse fire warning after arsonists set hillside alight

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Arsonists are putting a strain on resources and could endanger lives, a fire officer has warned after a gorse fire in Gwynedd.

The fire at Mynydd Rhiw near Botwnnog was brought under control for the first time at 21:20 BST on Sunday after it was started accidentally.

But it was deliberately reignited two hours later.

In April and May, the fire service attended 143 grass and gorse fires in north Wales.

"As the nights get lighter and the weather gets warmer, we often see a rise in the number of grass and gorse fires," said Gary Brandrick, senior fire safety manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS).

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service attended:

  • 116 grass and gorse fires in April and May 2012.
  • 143 grass and gorse fires in April and May 2013.

Source: NWFRS

"Fires like this place a tremendous pressure on resources, with fire fighters often tied up for a considerable length of time trying to bring them under control.

"These fires could be tying up fire fighters and resources needed to save lives elsewhere," he added.

The fire on Sunday covered an area of around 300 sq m in a rural area on the Llyn Peninsula.

Mr Brandrick said many of the fires occurred in areas where access is difficult and water supply is limited.

Some begin as a result of a controlled burning getting out of control, or by someone carelessly discarding cigarettes.

Mr Brandrick said setting deliberate fires was a problem which risked serious injury to the fire setter - or those fighting the flames.

In April, NWFRS joined a social media campaign to stamp out deliberate fires.

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