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Operation Dawns Glaw, a multi-agency taskforce of specialist from key agencies across Wales who are committed to reduce, and where possible eliminate the impact of grass fires across Wales.
The task force was established in 2016 to tackle incidents of deliberately set grass fires across Wales. Whilst the initial focus was on reducing incidents of antisocial behaviour and arson, more recent work has concentrated on assisting farmers and landowners in ensuring the safe execution of their land management plans. Equally, as a result of increased tourism to rural areas of Wales over recent years, the task force has been raising awareness of the consequences of accidental fires on our countryside.
During 2021, Fire and Rescue Services across Wales dealt with 2,089 grass fires. Whilst this was a slight decrease on 2020, the number of accidental fires in 2021 had increased by 24%.
Every year fire is responsible for the destruction of thousands of hectares of countryside, open space and wildlife habitats. We want to work with our communities to build a healthier and more resilient landscape, by developing a more biodiverse countryside for our future.
By working together with our communities to share our knowledge, we hope to provide a better understanding on what we can all do to limit the accidental fires from happening and in turn the damage that accidental fires can cause to our environment.
If are out enjoying the countryside and you do come across any suspicious activity, please call CrimeStoppers (opens in a new window/tab) anonymously on 0800 555 111, or ring 101. In an emergency, always call 999.
The Task Force is continuing its work with farmers and landowners across Wales, and together we can try to reverse the loss of Biodiversity in Wales. We understand the benefits and the role that controlled fires have on our landscape, in promoting biological diversity and creating healthier ecosystems.
Farmers and Landowners can continue to burn heather, grass, bracken and gorse up until the 15 March (up to 31 March in Upland areas), however, they must have a Burn Plan in place to ensure they are burning safely. It is illegal to burn between sunset and sunrise and there must always be sufficient people and equipment on hand to control the burn. Breaking these rules can result in penalties of up to £1000. We want to work with our local landowners to ensure that this doesn’t happen. You can contact us for free advice on safe burning and we have more information on Farm Safety here.
You can find out more about The Heather and Grass Burning Code – and download a Burning Management Plan from the Welsh Government website (opens in a new window/tab).
If you see a fire which looks like it might be out of control or being burnt illegally, then please call CrimeStoppers (opens in a new window/tab) anonymously on 0800 555 111, or ring 101. In an emergency, always call 999.
While accidents can happen, there are others within our communities who are deliberately setting fire to our countryside. Deliberate fire setting is a crime and the Task Force is appealing for information on anyone deliberately setting fires to call 101, or to report anonymously to CrimeStoppers (opens in a new window/tab) on 0800 555 111. Anonymous means that no mobile number, address or location of calls are tracked. Those caught will be prosecuted.
This work is supported by our Arson Reduction team, a problem-solving team, dedicated to reducing and eliminating deliberate fire-setting. The team consists of a seconded Police Officer, a Fire Officer and three specialist arson advisors who ensure that all incidents are investigated and analysed to make our communities safer. The team works closely with its partners to target problematic areas and to consistently develop ways of reducing arson and to identify who or what may be affected. You can find out more about the work of our Arson Reduction Team here.