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Surveys help understand impact of North Wales wild fire

Drone surveys carried out by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have shown the extent of a wildfire that burnt in North Wales for four weeks earlier this summer.

The fire on Mynydd Llantysilio, began in July, at the height of this summer’s heatwave.

Initial surveys reveal that 247 hectares, the size of about 247 rugby pitches, has been burnt and there is little vegetation left in the area.

The mountain is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its heather moorland habitats and upland breeding birds and is home to rare birds like the black grouse and the curlew.

It also provides grazing areas for local farmers and is popular with walkers.

NRW worked with North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS) and Denbighshire Countryside Services to cut back vegetation and create fire breaks to try and stop the fire spreading.

Nick Thomas, Operations Manager for North East Wales, Natural Resources Wales, said:

“Mynydd Llantysilio is really important to both people and wildlife and over the last five years we have worked with Denbighshire County Council, local farmers and others to improve the vegetation for wildlife and grazing.

“The thin mineral soil is normally covered by heathland vegetation like heather, bilberry and gorse.

“There are also some pockets of deeper peat that have been particularly badly affected by the fire. In places it has been completely burnt away, exposing a sandy sub-soil and rock.

“We anticipate that some heathland plants will grow back from roots that have survived the fire or from the seeds. However, the peatland areas are likely to take much longer to re-vegetate and some areas may not recover naturally.”

During the autumn, NRW will work with partners to fully assess the damage and plan what needs to be done to try to restore the Mountain to its former glory. And NRW will be working with the other organisations involved to carry out a review of our response.

Mynydd Llantysilio is common land. It is part of the Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

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