Fighting fire with fire: New Healthy Hillside Project Launched!

The Healthy Hillsides is an exciting new 2 year ENRAW funded project working within sites in Rhondda to reduce fire risk using conservation management.

Seven demonstration sites primarily in the Rhondda have been chosen for their high fire risk. Most are publicly owned, which recently have suffered a lack of management. Through the project management will be re-instated for these sites including implementing conservation grazing, bracken rolling, fire breaks and controlled burns for the safety and benefit of both people and biodiversity.

The Healthy Hillsides Project is a close partnership between Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Natural Resources Wales, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) and Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, with other associated organisations such as PONT and Swansea University also playing important roles.

Within the project there will be an education programme and wider community awareness of Firewise and protecting your home and wider landscape from wildfire. With the aim to integrate wildfire into the environmental educational programmes in schools. Healthy Hillsides will also engage with local communities to encourage interest and use of the sites, teach new skills such as surveying and land management, and engender a sense of pride, care and ownership of your local environment.

Healthy Hillsides will demonstrate to decision makers in Welsh Government that management of wildfire needs to be core funded and part of a risk based land management approach to reduce fire risk, which falls in line with the South Central Wales Area Statement. As wildfires come with additional associated risks such as pollution, landslips and biodiversity loss. Whereas through management, engagement and education Healthy Hillsides will reduce wildfire risk and help protect people and biodiversity.

For more information, events including walks, talks and demonstrations starting this summer and how to get involved with volunteering opportunities throughout the year, please see our website or email.

Tara: t.daniels@welshwildlife.org

Controlled burning SWFRS - Craig Hope
Rowan Working Horses - Kate Mobbs-Morgan