Marsden Moor fire causes hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage

Date published: 29 April 2021


A fire which burnt for three days has caused major damage to a precious area of Marsden Moor.

The fire started just after 7pm on Sunday (April 25) on an area of National Trust land near Black Moss Reservoir and Swellands Reservoir.

The fire was declared a major incident, with specialist equipment including helicopters brought in to tackle the blaze.

Yesterday (Wednesday), crews from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue stood down, with two specialist wildfire teams remaining on site to assess the damage.

The fire covered two square miles on Bobus Moor, Butterley Moor and Black Moss Moor (all part of Marsden Moor).

In total, the fire damage has a perimeter of six miles.

West Yorkshire Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the cause of the fire.

It follows several weeks of dry weather, which mean the moors are extremely vulnerable to fires.

BBQs, fires and fireworks are banned on the moors all year round to protect the landscape.

Visitors are reminded that defying the BBQ ban could result in a fine of up to £2,000.

Countryside Manager for the National Trust, Craig Best, said, “We’d like to thank everyone who worked with the National Trust to bring this fire under control.

"It’s been an incredible effort and our rangers are really grateful.

"At the moment we are assessing the damage to see how much precious habitat has been lost.

“We’d like to remind the public that BBQs, fires and fireworks are banned on the moor.

"This catastrophic event shows just how vulnerable our uplands are, and how a small spark can cause substantial damage.

"As well as the environmental impact, tens of thousands of pounds that we’ve invested into restoring the moors has been lost.  

“The local community have been incredibly supportive.

"The public can help us prevent future fires by donating to our Marsden Moor appeal.

"The money raised will go back into repairing the damage caused by this fire and re-wetting and restoring Marsden Moor.”

Marsden Moor is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

The area is known for its breeding bird habitat and is a popular site for rare curlews.

It is also home to short-eared owl and mountain hares.

It’s nearly two years to the day since another fire in 2019, which destroyed 700 hectares of land.

It took a helicopter four days to fully extinguish the flames, which had been caused by a discarded disposable barbeque.

The full restoration effort from that fire is expected to take several years and cost at least £500,000.

The ban on BBQs and fires on Marsden Moor runs all year round and is part of a PSPO (Public Spaces Protection Order).


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