Leeds & West Yorkshire

Spate of moorland fires sparks countryside warning

Moorland above Marsden
Image caption Visitors to Marsden Moor are among those being warned to take care to avoid fire

People are being warned to take extra care after a spate of wildfires on West Yorkshire's moorland.

Firefighters have already tackled blazes at Scammonden, Ogden, Ripponden, Marsden and Rishworth this month.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service's wildfire officer John Webster has asked people not to smoke, use barbecues or drop litter on moorland.

Mr Webster said: "We don't want to be killjoys but just think about the implications of your actions."

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has three specialist wildfire units based in Keighley, Todmorden and Holmfirth, all of which have been called into action over the past month.

'Environmental effects'

Mr Webster said visitors to the countryside often failed to realise the irreparable damage that could be caused by moorland fires.

"Some of the fires can go on for days if we don't get them quick enough," he said.

"The environmental effects are massive."

Mr Webster said the recent moor fires in West Yorkshire had undone decades of work which had been carried out to repair damage from previous blazes.

"A few weeks ago the fire at Marsden Moor was burning for a day-and-a-half and that was 25 years' worth of work up in smoke," he said.

"All the planting done to replace the moss, peat and wildlife after another fire was gone in an afternoon of carelessness."

Mr Webster called on visitors to avoid having barbecues and discarding cigarettes and litter to cut the risk of fire.

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