The number of deliberately started grass fires in Wales increased by almost a third last year, new figures have shown. Some 2,604 grass fires, about eight in 10, were started on purpose in 2015-16, according to Welsh Government figures. This was up from the 1,968 deliberate fires started in the 12 months before. In April 2015, children as young as 11 were arrested after hundreds of blazes destroyed acres of countryside in south Wales. Two people were injured during the deliberate fires. The report said the highest number of grass fires was started in April 2015, when fire crews attended 1,487 grass, woodland and crop blazes – more than double the number in the same month in 2014. There were calls for tougher penalties for arsonists following the spate of fires on land in Newport, Caerphilly, Rhondda and Port Talbot last spring. The report suggested good weather was likely to have been a factor, with Met Office data showing there was 50% more sunshine in April 2015 than in the same month in 2014, and about half the amount of rain.
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