An area the size of 50 rugby pitches has been left blackened in the aftermath of a fire that’s raged across Machen Mountain in recent days.
Firefighters remain on the hill and are working alongside Natural Resources Wales to keep the fire contained, as smoke can still be seen smouldering from the area.
The fire is believed to have been caused deliberately, with many angry residents taking to social media to condemn whoever was responsible.
But the fire has shown the community at its best.
According to firefighter Beci Newton, the actions of a small minority are “completely outweighed by the massive positivity and support” shown by the community – which came together to show its appreciation to those who have worked tirelessly to stop the fire.
After waking up on Monday morning and seeing photos of the fire on Facebook, Bedwas resident Amanda Nott decided to organise a raffle to raise money to support the firefighters.
The raffle managed to raise more than £100 within just a couple of hours. Ms Nott rushed to Morrisons in Caerphilly to buy snacks such as crisps, bottled water, fizzy drinks, tea, coffee and more, which she later dropped off at Caerphilly Fire Station.
Ms Nott said: “The firefighters were genuinely over the moon and humbled.
“Bedwas, Trethomas, Graig y Rhacca and Machen is such a fantastic community. When the chips are down, everyone comes together to show support. It’s heart-warming.”
Meanwhile, pupils at Machen Primary School organised donations of refreshments, takeaway pizzas and sweets for the firefighters.
This support did not go unnoticed. firefighter Mrs Newton said: “We want to say a big thank you to everything you do to help us do our job as safely as possible.”
Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen Community Councillor Amanda McConnell said: “The community support in BTM for the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has been truly amazing.
“The community are now looking to see if they can work in partnership with Natural Resources Wales to help regenerate the damaged area.”
A spokesperson for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Multiple reports of fires on the mountain were received over the weekend, with crews using specialist equipment in difficult terrain to tackle the flames, which has now spread over 50 hectares of grassland.
“Multiple Fire Service vehicles have been in attendance, including deployment of a firefighting helicopter, fire engines, off-road vehicles and the service’s Wildfire Units.
“Natural Resources Wales have provided heavy plant machinery to create fire breaks to stop the fire spreading down the mountainsides.”
The spokesperson added: “We are immensely proud of our staff’s hard work and commitment to demonstrate our mission in keeping South Wales safe.
“We would also like to say a special thank you to the local residents who supported us throughout, with land owners offering access and local residents kindly putting out water and snacks.”
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