The three Fire and Rescue Services in Wales, along with Operation Dawns Glaw partners, are reminding farmers and landowners that the window to conduct controlled burning of grasslands, in upland areas, will close on Thursday, 31st March 2022. The closing date to carry out controlled burns in other areas was on Tuesday, 15th March.
Even though farmers and landowners may still legally control burn grasslands in upland areas until the 31st March, they are legally required to do so safely and complete a burn management plan, which is available from the Welsh Government’s website, before burning.
Operation Dawns Glaw is a multi-agency task force of specialists from key agencies across Wales that has reformed, as of 1st March 2022 to reduce, and where possible eliminate the impact of grass fires across Wales.
Area Manager Peter Greenslade, Chair of Operation Dawns Glaw said: “Over the past week or so we have experienced dry and often windy weather conditions and fire crews, from across Wales, have been deployed to a high number of grass fires; the cause of which varies from incidents of arson to legal burns getting out of control.
"Thursday, 31st March, will see the legal burning season come to an end. Whilst farmers and landowners can still legally burn grasslands during this time, as part of their land-controlled management plan, they must do so responsibly and by following a completed burn plan.
"As of the 1st of April, regardless of the intention and the location, lighting a grass fire will be illegal and classed as arson. Should anybody come across any suspicious activity linked to a deliberate grassfire they can report it to CrimeStoppers, anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111. They can also call the Police on 101. In the case of an emergency, always call 999.”
Guidance on Controlled Burning
When the weather is dry it is easy for fires to spread. These fires are often in areas where access is extremely difficult and water supply is limited - should the fire get out of control, this can place tremendous pressure on resources, with firefighters tied up for a considerable length of time trying to bring them under control. These fires can put homes, livestock and the lives of crews and residents at risk as firefighters are kept from attending genuine emergencies.
Please follow the guidelines below if you are planning a controlled burn:
- Ensure you have sufficient people and equipment to control the fire
- Check wind direction and ensure there is no risk to property, roads, and wildlife
- If a fire gets out of control, contact the fire and rescue service immediately giving details of location and access
- It is illegal to leave a fire unattended or to have too few people to control it.
- Follow the Heather and Grass Burning Code
- Always ensure a fire is completely out before you leave it and check the next day to ensure it has not reignited.