Wildlife charities, emergency services, environmental groups and local authorities have issued pleas not to light campfires or disposable barbeques in the countryside and dispose responsibly of cigarettes and litter such as glass bottles, as dry warm weather significantly increases the risk of fires starting and spreading quickly.
Helen Noble, Chief Executive of South Pennines Park said: “Moorland fires devastate wildlife, endanger lives and wreak havoc on our beautiful landscape.
“Organisations across the park are calling for residents, and visitors, to think twice about whether they are putting our green spaces and natural habitats at risk.
“If we have learnt anything over the past few years, it is how valuable our green spaces are, not only for health and wellbeing but in managing key environmental issues such as poor air quality, flood mitigation, biodiversity loss, livelihood crises and human environmental damage.
“It is heartbreaking to think that some of the devastation caused by wildfires could be easily prevented – as we head into spring and summer, we urge residents to take care and help protect our precious moorland and the abundance of wildlife that relies on it.”
Representing 460sq m of beautiful landscape, abundant wildlife and diverse communities across Lancashire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, the South Pennines Park is located within easy reach of 8 million people.
Residents and visitors to the park are being urged to think twice, leave disposable barbecues at home and dispose of cigarettes and litter appropriately.
Richard Hawley, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Wildfire Lead Officer, said: “As the days get longer and we all get to enjoy some long-awaited sunshine, we want to stress the seriousness and importance of the public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) in place in rural districts across the region which include a ban on moorland fires, BBQs or fireworks.
“When our crews are called to these completely avoidable incidents, there is not only a high financial cost, but they are taken away from protecting our communities in other areas.
“Working with the National Trust and other partners, our #BeMoorAware campaign was launched last year to try and prevent dangerous fires in our beautiful countryside. If you see a fire or someone using a BBQ on moorland – call 999 and ask for FIRE.”
If you see a fire, ring 999 and report it immediately.