South East Wales

Rhigos and Wattsville fires tackled by helicopter drops

The helicopter drops its water cargo
The helicopter dampened down the fire at Wattsville, Caerphilly county

A fire-fighting helicopter has been called out twice in an afternoon to tackle mountain blazes in the south Wales valleys.

The helicopter dropped up to a tonne of water at a time on a 12-hectare (30 acre) blaze on Rhigos Mountain in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

It was later called to a blaze of up to 40 hectares (100 acres) in pine forest at Wattsville, Caerphilly.

Smoke from the blaze was seen up to five miles away.

Up to nine South Wales Fire and Rescue Service crews had been tackling the incident near Hirwaun in the Cynon Valley.

The fire broke out in the Beili Glas forestry plantation on the Treherbert side of the mountain.

The alert came at around 09:00 BST on Wednesday.

Fire crews have been using a water bowser to shuttle water to the scene as well as an all-terrain Argocat vehicle.

Tim Pedrick, incident commander for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We tend to use the helicopter only on the most significant incidents."

Smoke

By 16:50 BST the fire service said it was scaling down at the scene and considered the incident to be "contained" although material was still smouldering.

The fire service said it had up to 70 calls about the blaze at Wattsville.

At one point firefighters had to withdraw because of the large amount of smoke that was being produced.

The blaze is now believed to be under control but four fire crews remain at the scene.

Meanwhile, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said two crews were tackling a large fire at St Ishmaels in Pembrokeshire involving around 2,500 square metres of gorse on the cliff edge.

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