Fire-hit Llantysilio mountain could be re-seeded by helicopter

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Mountain fire
Image caption,
The blaze affected a huge area and led to road closures on the Horseshoe Pass near Llangollen

Helicopters could be used to re-seed the slopes of a mountain which burned for two months, causing "catastrophic damage” to nature.

The fire on Llantysilio Mountain, above Llangollen, Denbighshire, lasted from mid-July to September in 2018.

Re-seeding on foot could be dangerous because of instability caused by burning peat away, according to Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Using helicopters in this way is “novel” in the UK, a report said.

The NRW study made the suggestion because of the extent of the damage.

About 250 hectares (617 acres) were destroyed, including heather, bilberry and gorse cover.

The suggested technique is known as helicopter hydro-seeding and uses mulch and a “tackifier” - a compound to increase stickiness - which could be added to water or used dry and distributed from a bucket slung under a helicopter.

Image source, Emma Howe
Image caption,
Sixty firefighters were involved in battling the blaze at its height

The process is used successfully in places like New Zealand and the USA but is relatively new in the UK, the report said.

As part of the process, a mixture of grass and heather seed would be distributed on areas of greatest damage.

A hearing into the blaze in March 2019 was told the fire could have been stopped in a few days if fire breaks had been cut into the mountain.

NRW said in the report it was hoping to get some preparatory work done this spring.

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