An event was held on Ilkley Moor last week to raise awareness of the #BeMoorAware campaign.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) teamed up with West Yorkshire Police, Bradford City Council and Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) Officers for the event.
The #BeMoorAware campaign aims to prevent wildfires and reduce the impact on communities, businesses and the environment.
WYFRS’ Wildfire team from Keighley spoke with the public at the event on Ilkley Moor, asking them about their awareness of PSPOs and advising them on how to prevent wildfires.
Bradford Assistant District Commander Dave Cookson said: “Each year wildfire destroys thousands of hectares of our countryside, having significant effect on the economy, environment, wildlife, and social fabric of rural areas.
“Along with our partners, we want people to #BeMoorAware of the impacts that wildfire has on our communities and how we can help to prevent future wildfires across West Yorkshire.
“In previous years we have experienced significant wildfires on Ilkley Moor and other areas of West Yorkshire, which have had an incredible impact. #BeMoorAware aims to prevent incidents like this happening again.”
Bradford Council has Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO’s) relating to bans on barbeques, fires, sky lanterns, fireworks, and other dangerous items from moorland across the district.
The Bradford district also contains Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), the highest National Protection Designation and highest European Nature Conservation designation.
“As a community we must look to respect and protect these sites,” said ADC Cookson. “The moors are there for everybody to enjoy, and we want everyone to be responsible when they are on the moors. Hotter weather is coming soon and the clocks changed at the weekend, so it's more inviting for people to come onto the moors. We are asking everyone to be responsible – we've had some serious fires on the moors and we don't want that to happen again.”
PSPOs are in place across the region, which means no naked flames, no fires, BBQs or fireworks are allowed in moorland areas. Breaching a PSPO can lead to fines of up to £2,500 and/or a prison sentence.
Danny Jackson, Bradford Council’s Countryside Service Manager, said: “We have some wonderful moors and open spaces across the Bradford district, which are important natural habitats. These can all be destroyed by a single act of carelessness, which is why the Public Space Protection Order banning barbeques, fires, fireworks and sky lanterns is in place. We are encouraging people to #BeMoorAware, by not lighting BBQs or having fires on our moorland.”
Advice on helping to prevent wildfires include:
• 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. Not only can they hurt people and animals, but they can magnify the sun’s rays and start a fire.
• Never throw lighted cigarette ends onto the ground, or out of the window of vehicles. Always ensure that they are completely extinguished and disposed of responsibly.
• Never be tempted to light a fire in the countryside.
• If you see a fire, or someone using a BBQ on the moorland, call 999 and ask for Fire Service.