“Lack of robust land management” contributed to Llantysilio mountain fire
A lack of proper land management made a three-month mountain fire much worse than it might otherwise have been.
Councillors on Denbighshire’s communities scrutiny committee will be presented with a report on 2018’s Llantysilio Mountain fire when they meet this week.
Hearings were held by the committee last March into the fire which started during last year’s summer heatwave and lasted from July 19 until September 25.
Around 290 hectares of land on the Horseshoe Pass was damaged by the fire.
The report concluded: “The lack of robust land management over an extended period of time on the mountain contributed towards the length of time the fire burned and the devastation it caused.
“Therefore a regular programme of land management activities is crucial if the risk of extensive environmental and economic damage from similar fires is to be lessened in future.”
It highlighted practices like small controlled fires and regular mowing that could help prevent future blazes.
Bethan Beech, Denbighshire team leader for Natural Resources Wales, said: “Llantysilio Mountain is an important part of the local community and farming economy as well as heathland habitat which is home to black grouse and curlew.
“We welcome this report which makes some valuable recommendations about how last year’s fire was dealt with and how the land can be managed in the future.
“We were pleased to contribute to it and look forward to working with partners to implement its recommendations.”
Other recommendations include coordinating land management to cut the risk of similar fires in future and getting the Welsh Government’s help in maintaining upland moorland areas and to consider providing financial assistance for restoration work on Llantysilio Mountain.
Chief Fire Officer Simon Smith said: “We appreciated the opportunity to take part in the Community Scrutiny Committee review of the Llantysilio Mountain fire and welcome the recommendations made which focus on the lack of robust land management over an extended period of time and on the endorsing the recommendations of the North Wales Local Resilience Forum.
“We look forward to working with the other stakeholders involved in addressing these recommendations.
“We strongly believe that fire prevention is key to mitigating against such incidents and that all stakeholders should work together in this regard – and the recommendation to appoint a moorland management officer is welcomed.”
Cllr Huw Williams, chairman of the committee said: “On behalf of the committee I would like to thank the agencies who tackled this difficult mountain fire and subsequently agreed to take part in the Committee’s venture to understand and learn from it.
“I would like to thank local residents and representatives of those who own or work on Llantysilio Mountain for their valuable contributions to the inquiry.
“The committee sincerely hopes all agencies, organisations and individuals who participated will find the report informative and useful as a reference point for future collaborative efforts.”
Picture: Drone footage released by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service last year
By Shane Brennan – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme). Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com