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Gareth Wyn Jones lends support to raise profile of problem grass fires


North Wales farmer and well known TV personality Gareth Wyn Jones is lending his support to Welsh fire and rescue services this autumn to help promote and raise the profile of the importance of following the Heather and Grass Burning Code.


Gareth, who farms in Llanfairfechan in Conwy, is the star of two new videos – the first aimed at encouraging landowners to notify fire and rescue services prior to conducting their burns, and the second to help stamp out and report deliberate fires caused by irresponsible firestarters.


The new ‘Call before you burn!’ and ‘Help stop deliberate fires’ videos, are both available to view on YouTube here and were launched today (Thursday 8th October) at Ruthin farmers market in North Wales.


Gareth’s messages are simple – ‘Don’t put the lives of others at risk. Be responsible!’ when it comes to conducting a controlled burn.


And ‘Deliberate fire setting is not just a form of antisocial behaviour, it is a criminal act’ – encouraging the reporting of irresponsible fire starting to Crimestoppers.


Gareth said: “I was only too happy to promote these messages to help protect the public, property and the wider environment.


“As farmers it’s our responsibility to protect wildlife - if we burn natural nesting areas out of the burning season we will not only be breaking the law but severely damaging the ecology of our landscapes.


“Wales is renowned for its areas of outstanding natural beauty, but sadly we are frequently seeing these areas being destroyed due to deliberate fire setting. A fire can spread quickly and is extremely unpredictable.”


Across North Wales, staff from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting livestock markets over the coming months advising landowners on conducting a safe controlled burning and about giving prior notification to fire and rescue services when conducting their burn. Farmers have responded positively to this campaign in previous years.


The Heather and Grass Burning Code states that burning is allowed only between the 1st of October and the 31st of March in upland areas and the 1st of November and the 15th of March elsewhere.


Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Every year during controlled burning season we are called to countless false alarms and controlled burns which have spread resulting in valuable land and property being destroyed as well as tying up our resources which could be put to better use elsewhere.


“We urge all landowners undertaking controlled burning to notify us first by calling our control room on 01931 522006 to help avoid false alarms and fire crews being sent out unnecessarily.


"We are also asking these landowners to be responsible when it comes to controlled burning - with detailed advice available on our website www.nwalesfireservice, on how to avoid unnecessary risk.


“Unfortunately, we also often see a rise in deliberate fires at certain times of the year, frequently caused by young people. So Gareth is also helping us to highlight that setting fires is a criminal offence and that we actively work with police to combat deliberate incidents. We appeal to anyone with information on such activities to report it to Crimestoppers or contact 101.”

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