Fire service launch #BeMoorAware campaign
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has today launched a hard-hitting campaign to prevent moorland fires this summer - after a series of blazes in the first half of 2019.
There have been 11 large moorland fires in the last six months across West Yorkshire, causing devastation to wildlife and posing a potential threat to life and property.
The moorland fires have also required a huge fire service resource to tackle.
As the school summer holidays start, WYFRS is joining with partners to urge the public to be vigilant and follow some basic rules to enjoy the beautiful moorlands without creating a fire threat to their future.
Firefighters and local dignitaries attended the launch of the campaign on Ilkley Moor which saw a huge 7m x 9m banner unveiled down the Cow rock at the Cow and Calf.
WYFRS Area Manager, Chris Kirby, said: “This year has seen some huge moorland fires across West Yorkshire and it’s crucial the public get behind this campaign to ensure this trend doesn’t continue.
“Some of the fires have been deliberate, which we utterly condemn – but most have been accidental and simply due to people being careless when out and about. As our campaign highlights – just one family barbecue can start a fire which destroys hundreds of hectares of beautiful moorland.”
WYFRS is supporting Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale councils with their new public space protection orders (PSPOs) which ban barbecues, fires and things like sky lanterns on moorland.
Chris added: “We don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun but we do want to make people aware of the serious consequences that a barbecue or a dropped cigarette can have, especially in tinder dry conditions.
“A fire can spread so quickly, once it’s caught there’s little you can do to stop it and before you know it there’s a catastrophic blaze with far reaching consequences. This not only impacts on local moorland and wildlife, but affects local businesses, especially if roads need to be closed for health and safety reasons.
“Please help us spread this simple message – #BeMoorAware!”
This year WYFRS attended a moorland fire (in Marsden) as early as February (26th) which is unprecedented for the time of year.
At its height, more than 35 firefighters were in attendance and part of the A62 was closed as a precaution.
Following this, 10 more large fires have taken place - the largest fire service response saw 23 fire engines called to Ilkley Moor on April 20th.
This level of resource required can mean we have to call in support from other fire a rescue services.
Moorland Safety Advice:
Clear up and take your rubbish home after picnics
Observe all signs and notices - they are there for a reason
Follow the National Trust Countryside Code
Don’t leave glass bottles
Never be tempted to light a fire in the countryside - including barbecues.
Never throw lighted cigarette ends onto the ground or out of the window of vehicles or trains. Always ensure that they are completely extinguished and disposed of responsibly.
Partners in the campaign are: Yorkshire Water, Bradford Council, Kirklees Council, Calderdale Council, United Utilities, National Trust, Crimestoppers.
If you see a fire call 999.
If you know who is responsible call the charity CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Breaking a Public Space Protection Order can lead to a fine of up to £2,500.