It has been absolutely heartbreaking to see, yet again, our beautiful woodlands alight with illegal grass fires. As we open our doors and windows to welcome in the summer, it is a reluctant expectation that criminals will inevitably use the opportunity to light fires and wreak havoc on our hillsides.
The reasoning behind this criminal behaviour has been proactively studied and analysed in depth, but alas it beggars belief that anyone could willingly want to destroy the homes and habitats of wildlife, endanger their own families and friends with smoke inhalation and the risk of fires spreading to their own homes.
Many of our local green spaces have been carefully nurtured and maintained by a host of volunteers who selfishly give their time and efforts to enhance our local area. Years of work, destroyed in a few hours by criminal activity!
Our local fire-fighters have been put under immense pressure to battle multiple fires recently, working around the clock with support from other stations using a mix of conventional tactics, airborne tactical support and traditional firefighting skills to deal with the blaze. During my recent visit to Maesteg Fire Station they had been battling 5 major incidents in a 72-hour period. We should be extremely grateful to them for their efforts to keep us safe.
We should also help wherever and however we can. The Keep Wales Tidy project ‘Love Where You Live’ recognises the critical relationship between people and their surroundings and focuses on inspiring local action within local communities. With this in mind, we can try and change this toxic criminal culture of arson, by continuing to promote and take pride in our towns and communities.
Research shows that the quality of the place where people live is by far the most important environmental issue for them. We can help to protect our beautiful landscapes and the health and wellbeing of children, families, and communities by staying alert to any suspicious behaviour. We can work with our front-line services, whether it be arson, anti-social behaviour, or any other criminal activity, by calling it out when we see it.
Ogmore is at its best during the summer months, let’s refuse to let anyone blight our landscapes and damage our extended back gardens.
The South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are urging people to report any suspicious activity and have provided useful advice and information for residents via their website: