National Trust rangers warn of significant fire risk on Marsden Moor

Date published: 20 July 2021

National Trust rangers and volunteers are putting on extra patrols this week to try and protect Marsden Moor from potential fires.

It’s after two BBQs were spotted on the moor over the weekend during a continued spell of warm weather.

Following the last major fire on Marsden Moor in April this year, a new Community Fire Watch group was set up by the National Trust.

The group, who patrol key spots during warm weather, have so far stopped around a dozen BBQs being used on the moor.

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

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: “Our community fire watch volunteers are playing a vital role in keeping Marsden Moor safe.

"Our ranger team have stepped up their patrols, but they can’t be everywhere at once.

"We’re so grateful for the public’s help to spread the message that BBQs are banned on Marsden Moor.

"The last fire is fresh in everyone’s mind.

"The damage caused to wildlife and vegetation was devastating, and we want to ensure that there are no more fires this summer.

"Whilst the weather stays warm and dry, the risk of fire on Marsden Moor is high.

"Please dial 999 if you see a fire or a BBQ on the moors.”

In April this year, a major fire destroyed two square miles of moorland.

It took fire crews three days to extinguish the fire and the National Trust called in a specialist helicopter team to assist.

It’s estimated that repairing the damage will cost around £200,000.

Rangers found burnt nests and eggs from ground nesting birds among the fire damage.

Much of the work at Marsden involves improving the moor’s resilience to future fires.

Rangers have been planting sphagnum mosses and building small natural dams to ‘rewet’ 2,000 hectares of peat bogs which trap rainwater and carbon and help stop the spread of flames.

Along roadsides, where fires are likely to take hold, strips of vegetation have been cut back to reduce the amount of potential fuel.

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

For more details about the Trust's work, visit:

Earlier today, United Utilities issued a warning to visitors to its reservoir sites - including Dovestone - ahead of the summer holidays about the dangers of swimming in open water and wildfires. 

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