FAMILIES were evacuated from 20 homes in Blaenau Ffestiniog and the A470 road was closed because of a hillside fire.

The blaze, which lasted from the evening of Easter Monday for approaching 24 hours before being extinguished, was fought by fire crews from a number of stations across the region. The North Wales Fire Service used an aerial ladder platform to reach the blazing bracken on otherwise inaccessible parts of the mountainside.

The families have now been allowed to return to their homes and the A470 has been reopened.

A fire service spokesperson said at one stage five appliances were deployed in addition to the aerial ladder platform: “Appliances from a number of stations were called to the fire with crews rotating to give them some rest.”

The A470 was closed from the roundabout in Blaenau Ffestiniog to McColls on Church Street and diversions were put in place.

The fire service has launched an investigation to establish the cause of the fire.

Following the fire a safety warning was issued by Kevin Jones, North Wales Fire service community safety manager, who said: “During drier periods, fires involving grass, bracken and heather can develop very quickly, particularly in raised winds, resulting in fires getting out of control and spreading to neighbouring properties or forestry, with the need for the fire and rescue service to be called out to extinguish them.

“We are urging visitors to the countryside to take extra care when they are out and about and reduce the risk of fire. Make sure that any smoking materials are discarded and extinguished properly. If you are out camping, make sure you have permission to light camp fire and barbecues and they are fully extinguished following their use.”