THE Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is reminding farmers and landowners that grass burning season is now over and doing so is illegal.

The heather and grass burning season began in October 2020 and ended on March 31 in upland areas (March 15 elsewhere) of Wales – but fire crews in Powys have still been called out to several incidents around the county in the past week.

Firefighters in the south of the county were called out to several incidents at the beginning of April, with Abercrave Fire Station tweeting on Tuesday evening (April 5): “@AbercraveFire 11P1 and 11L1 mobilised 5 times over the weekend dealing with more grass fires in the local area.”

Several days earlier, on Easter Friday, April 2, they tweeted: “Another busy few days for the crew at Station 11. 11P1 mobilised to two house fires and 4 different grass fires in the local area with help 11L1 for its off road capabilities and its fogging unit.”

Firefighters in Builth Wells also attended several grass fires last week, including in the Hundred House and Pant y Llyn Pool areas.

The Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MWWFRS) has reminded farmers and landowners of the heather and grass burning code, which states the dates of burning season – and warns that breaking rules can result in a £1,000 fine.

The force re-introduced Operation Dawns Glaw for this year’s burn period, a multi-agency taskforce of specialists from key agencies across Wales, which reformed to reduce, and where possible, eliminate the impact of grass fires across Wales.

“The Burn Period has now ended and it is now against the law to burn and you will be prosecuted,” MWWFRS tweeted on April 1. “It could affect your single farm payment from Welsh Gov. Help stop grass fires #DawnsGlaw.”

Farmers and landowners have to notify the fire and rescue service if they are undertaking any burning on their land during grass burning season.

The MWWFRS said on their website: “The taskforce is continuing its work with farmers and landowners across Wales, reminding them that while they may burn heather, grass, bracken and gorse up until March 15 (up to March 31 in upland areas), they must have a burn plan in place to ensure they are burning safely.

“It is illegal to burn between sunset and sunrise and there must always be sufficient people and equipment on hand to control the burn. Breaking these rules can result in penalties of up to £1,000.

“Operation Dawns Glaw, a multi-agency taskforce of specialist from key agencies across Wales has reformed to reduce, and where possible eliminate the impact of grass fires across Wales.

“The taskforce, which was initially established in 2016 to tackle the incidents of deliberately set grass fires across Wales, will also be turning its attention to the increase in accidental fires, often caused as a result of our own careless behaviour when out enjoying the countryside.”