A wildfire has destroyed almost 40 acres of grassland on a Pontypool mountainside.

The fire, which took place in Lasgarn Woods, burned through the grassland until South Wales Fire & Rescue Service crews extinguished the blaze using specialist equipment.

South Wales Fire & Rescue Service has stated that it believes the incident to be a "suspected deliberate wildfire," one of more than 2,000 such incidents within the past two years.

"In recent weeks our crews have attended a series of grassfires across south Wales. In some cases the fire has spread destroying many hectares of grassland and putting lives in danger," a statement from South Wales Fire & Rescue said.

"In Pontypool 15 hectares of grassland in Lasgarn Woods were affected by a wildfire which continued to spread until extinguished by our crews using specialist equipment."

Fifteen hectares is equivalent to roughly 37 acres, or around 15 standard-size Rugby Union pitches.

South Wales Fire & Rescue Service is currently running an operation, 'Operation Dawns Glaw', across south Wales to tackle the issue of wildfires.

"Over the last two years our crews have attended over 2,050 deliberate wildfires and rising," a statement from the service said.

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"This increase has in part been attributed to the number to the lockdown measures in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – and as we enter another year whereby staycations here in Wales are likely to dominate our holidays, the taskforce is keen to make sure that we all do so safely, protecting the precious countryside to include its wildlife and habitats which we are so proud to have on our doorsteps."

"The Service’s Fire Crime Unit are working alongside the taskforce to educate and prevent wildfires by cutting fire break trails to reduce the spread of such fires."

"Deliberately setting grass is irresponsible and unacceptable, but at a time of increased pressure, we need to work together and avoid putting further strain on Wales’ emergency services."

"We would urge anyone who has information on suspected deliberate fires, or who sees anything suspicious to contact 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you see a fire, or anyone starting a fire, please call 999 immediately."