Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Showcasing Countryside Management at County Show

The dangers of uncontrolled fires are being highlighted by Denbighshire and Flintshire Countryside Service teams as they join forces on the Denbigh and Flint showground this week to showcase conservation and techniques used to manage areas of countryside.

Both teams will be present at the joint Denbighshire and Flintshire County Council marquee on Thursday, August 20 where both authorities will be promoting partnership working.

Officers from both countryside services will be on hand to discuss the various techniques used to manage areas of countryside, including cutting, burning and controlling the growth of bracken, as well as the importance of grazing to our uplands and for conservation.

Nick Critchley, Moorland Field Officer for the Heather and Hillforts Project, said: "Controlled and small scale burning of heather moorland during the burning season is an excellent management tool which encourages regrowth and provides fresh sources of food for wildlife and livestock.

"However a fire in grasslands and moorlands at this time of year can be devastating. An out of control fire will spread quickly and could even burn into the soil in peaty areas where a fire could last for days, It could lead to a complete loss of vegetation and potentially soil as it gradually gets blown away."

As well as damaging rare and valuable habitats, arson and unseasonal burning can also be very time consuming and costly to deal with by the authorities.

Sandra Williams, North Wales Arson Reduction Team Manager, adds: “Attending these incidents puts a tremendous pressure on resources, with firefighters being tied up for considerable lengths of time to bring these fires under control.

“Quite often these fires happen where access is extremely difficult and water supply is limited. Not only are fire crews not available to attend other incidents but there is widespread damage to the environment and wildlife - and these fires can escalate quickly to put homes at risk and endanger the lives of people and livestock. The impact of blackened hillsides also has a negative impact on visitors to our rural areas".


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