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Project cuts grass fires by 77%

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 01, 2014

Firefighters tackling a grass fire near Seven Sisters.

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GRASS fires started deliberately in the Afan Valley fell by more than 75 per cent over the Easter break, thanks to special project work with youngsters.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, South Wales Police and staff from Neath Port Talbot Council's youth service team worked with children in the holiday.

Their work saw a 77 per cent drop in deliberate fires when compared to last year.

During their two-week break, young people took part in a number of activities including basic firefighting, alongside listening to educational talks on home fire safety, road safety and grass fires.

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The group met members of the traffic department from South Wales Police, and visited headquarters to see the search dogs, diving department and horses. They also went on a bike ride at Afan Argoed.

During the evening, the arson reduction team and South Wales Police conducted patrols to engage with youths from Cymmer, Blaengwynfi, Abergwynfi, Croeserw, Glyn Corrwg and Abercregan, monitoring well-known grass fire hotspots and providing advice about the danger of lighting fires and the consequences.

Station manager Steve Richards, of the arson reduction team, said the drop was due to the collaborative working the team did.

PC Mark Davies, of the anti-social behaviour unit at Neath Police Station, said: "Last Easter saw 21 fires, one of which covered five hectares and caused considerable damage compared to this year which saw the fire service deal with five deliberate fires which were relatively small."

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