February 14, 2014 – WALES – A fire on bogland is out after dramatic scenes earlier of flames and smoke billowing over a nearby coastal village. Natural Resources Wales said minimal damage was caused by the fire close to High Street, Borth, near Aberystwyth. Fire crews were called at 05:20 GMT on Friday and allowed the blaze, which covered about a hectare (2.5 acres), to burn itself out by early afternoon. Resident Bryn Jones said the scene was “incredible” given the wet weather. The cause of the fire is not yet known but is being investigated. Natural Resources Wales, which leases the land from the RSPB, said the fire appeared to have been restricted to surface grass rather than the peat. The Ceredigion coast has borne the brunt of the bad weather in recent times, with buildings damaged by high winds this week. The seafront at Aberystwyth needed repairs after taking a battering from stormy seas in January. During the height of the fire, resident Mr Jones said: “You can see flames and smoke along the back of the village.”
Borth bog is part of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve and is managed by Natural Resources Wales. Bangor University wetland science and conservation expert Dr Christian Dunn said the scale of the fire had been “very surprising” given the weather. “It may be that the area of peatland has drainage channels cut into it and the strong winds have helped dry off the top layer,” he said. “There’s no way of knowing at the moment though how it started. It could have even been from a lightning strike during the storms or perhaps the elusive will-o’-the-wisp. This, I’m afraid to say, is not caused by goblins or fairies but by the spontaneous combustion of certain gases from the peat bog; a fact which always seems to disappoint the students on Bangor University’s wetland science course.” Borth and the surrounding area also featured prominently in the BBC Wales TV crime drama series Hinterland. –BBC
contribution Lizzie L.