Plea to stay safe and protect distinctive moorland in Calderdale from fires

Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, Calderdale Council is reminding residents and landowners of the risk of wildfires on moorlands and how they can be prevented.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 2:36 pm
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 2:38 pm

The local authority continues to work with partners at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and West Yorkshire Police to enforce Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) in areas of the countryside to prevent fires.

These orders prohibit the lighting of fires, barbecues, sky lanterns or anything that causes a fire risk – failure to comply is a criminal offence.

The recent spell of warm and dry weather has increased the fire risk.

Plea to protect Calderdale's moorland from fires

Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, Calderdale’s Community Safety Wardens, along with partners, will be patrolling the borough’s upland area advising local communities and landowners of the dangers of fires and taking enforcement action against those who fail to comply with the PSPO.

Calderdale Council’s Assistant Director for Neighbourhoods, Andrew Pitts, said: “We’ve all seen the devastating effects of wildfires on moorland across the region. It’s so important that we do all we can to protect our distinctive environment, our wildlife and their precious habitats, which are destroyed by these preventable fires.

“We know that most visitors treat our open spaces with respect, but unfortunately there is a small minority who act irresponsibly, and whether intentionally or not, their reckless behaviour causes issues which could have very serious consequences.

“We’re reminding people, ahead of the Bank Holiday, to follow the Countryside Code, pay attention to signage and be aware of our Public Space Protection Orders prohibiting the lighting of fires, barbecues, sky lanterns or other items that could cause a fire risk.”

Additional signage is also being installed to warn of the risks and what people should do if they see any problems on the moors

Damian Brown, District Commander in Calderdale for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service added: “As the weather starts to improve and restrictions ease, we know that people are taking the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful open areas that Calderdale has to offer, including our amazing moorland.

“However, this does lead to an increase in incidents in these areas. Many will know that as a Service we have spent the last few days tackling a fire on Marsden Moor, with crews from across the county working hard to bring the blaze under control. This demonstrates the impact that moorland fires can have and the resources it takes for us to respond to such incidents.

“Over the next few months, our crews will be actively undertaking visits to the local moorlands, nature reserves and areas of natural beauty to engage and educate the public on how to stay safe, avoiding preventable and careless fires which have a devastating impact on the environment and wildlife.

“Please, if you are heading out, follow the PSPOs that are in place and be vigilant. Moorland fires have a huge impact on us as a Service and threaten the safety of people animals and property. Please, Be Moor Aware.”