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Controlled Fire

Why are the commons burnt?

Traditionally, the commons were managed by a combination of burning and grazing.  The burning removes much of the old dead grasses and woody plants.  The ash created returns some nutrient to the soil, which encourages a fresh new growth of vegetation which the livestock can then graze.

The burning of common land is governed by the Heather and Grass Burning Code which sets out how and when commons should be burnt.

Some fires are not undertaken by commoners and these can cause problems threatening wildlife, grazing, livestock, public and property.  Illegal, uncontrolled fires on Sites of Special Scientific Interest can attract fines of up to £20,000.  If you are in doubt about a fire please call the Fire Brigade.  If it is a controlled burn they will be aware. In Wales the Fire Brigade spend £14,000,000 pounds a year in tackling illegal grass fires. Click here for what the law says.

For more information on the problems associated with uncontrolled fire, click here.

Proactive Approach

Controlling flammable plant matter such as gorse and bracken

Cutting fire breaks

This photo shows the effectiveness of the fire break, with the unburnt strip between the plots

Mobile Data Unit

  • Procedures for the site
  • Site manager/landowners contact details
  • Access points, tracks
  • Hydrants, other sources of water
  • Priority mapping

  • Crime Stoppers
  • Will act on local intelligence
  • Use of helicopter as a deterrent
  • Creation of a crib sheet on commons legislation
  • Creation of a “heath watch”
  • Partnership letter was sent to all homes on Gower
  • Costs met by project partners
  • Distributed by Community Councils

Number of Illegal Heathland fires attended by Reynoldston Fire Brigade 2003 & 2004

Mobile Data Unit (Reactive use)

  • Intent - agricultural or not?
  • Size (ha)
  • Ordnance Survey Grid Reference
  • Number
  • Date, Time and Incident Number


Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service Strategic Planning & Performance

Reactive Response

  • Fire fogging equipment
  • Partner resources










































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