AREAS of forestry on Twmbarlwm destroyed by fires could take “years to recover”, an environmental agency has warned.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) estimates the deliberate blazes ruined up to 250 hectares of forestry land.

The financial cost of the damage is in the tens of thousands of pounds, the agency believes.

With some areas of burned land still smouldering, the area is too unsafe for NRW to carry out a proper survey of the damage, but it is already clear the process of recovery in the area will be long and slow.

Steve Morgan, NRW’s head of operations in South East Wales, spoke of the huge toll the fires had taken on Twmbarlwm since the first blaze broke out on July 15.

“Any wildlife in the path of the fire will most likely have been killed and their habitat and food sources destroyed”, Mr Morgan said.

“Populations of some species of plants and animals may take years to recover."

“Over the last two years, a considerable amount of public money has gone into replanting felled areas with broadleaf and conifer mixtures to restore the ancient woodland and that work has now been undone.”

Mr Morgan said: “Wildfires pose a serious risk to people living and working in the area, our officers, the firefighters who have to tackle them, and local wildlife.

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of the agency’s involved the fire is now under control but the incident has caused lasting environmental damage as well as a huge economic impact on the area’s businesses, tourism, and the public purse.”