There was an alarming spike in the number of fires that were reported across the region during a fiery Easter weekend, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service have confirmed.

Over the four-day weekend (April 19-22), callouts to no less than 19 blazes across Flintshire and Wrexham were made by the emergency services, 18 of which were on Easter Sunday and Monday.

Those figures are nearly four times higher than the amount of fires that were reported over the 2018 Easter weekend (5), and also significantly higher than the numbers recorded in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Incidents were spread between the region too, with response teams responding to 9 Flintshire fires – including the house blaze in Bagillt on Easter Sunday - and 10 Wrexham-based blazes over the long weekend.

Perhaps more worryingly, though, six of those Wrexham incidents were started deliberately – double the amount recorded in the county for the past three Easter weekends combined.

In the early hours of Easter Sunday, on April 21, Wrexham fire services responded to a spate of three intentional fires in little over five hours, before responding to an incident in Brymbo later in the day.

Meanwhile, three of Flintshire’s nine reports – including an Easter Monday car fire in Hawarden - were also sparked purposely, equalling the number of deliberately caused fires in the region on Easter weekend since 2016.

About the potential problem, Justin Evans, Community Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has been working hard to drive down the incidence of all deliberate fires over recent years.

“But as the weather gets warmer and during school holidays, there is often a rise in the number of deliberate incidents.

"Deliberate fires place tremendous pressure on resources, with our crews tied up for a considerable length of time trying to bring them under control, which in turn delays firefighters from attending life threatening incidents.

“Setting fires is a criminal offence and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is actively working alongside North Wales Police to combat deliberate incidents.”

Just one of the 19 recorded incidents have been labelled as having an unknown cause, with that being the two-vehicle blaze in Shotton which disintegrated a caravan as well as writing off a transit van.

The remaining nine reports have been described as accidental by the Fire Service, with Mr Evans adding: “The dry weather experienced during the bank holiday weekend also means accidental fires can spread more easily.

“We’d also appeal to residents to take care when out and about - a flicked cigarette from a car window, a barbecue that sets fire to a hedge, or a bonfire left unattended could start a blaze that destroys acres of countryside, crops and wildlife.

“During warmer weather, the grass and vegetation is generally dry, which means if you accidentally start a fire outdoors it can spread very quickly, destroying everything in its path.”

Anyone who has any information about deliberately started fires is encouraged to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact 101.