Bosses at The Peak District National Park are asking visitors to be ‘fire aware’ after a period of unseasonably warm weather, and recent wild fires.
This week, a large fire on Marsden moor and two smaller incidents in the Dove Stone area – both in the north east of the Peak District – have prompted calls for visitors to be extra careful, as limited rainfall and dry vegetation have created an unusually early seasonal fire risk.
Wildfires can happen at any time, especially during periods of sunny, dry weather – regardless of the time of year.
A National Park spokesperson said: “The moorlands of the Peak District National Park are of global environmental importance, dominated by large expanses of blanket bog and upland heath. We must protect these moorlands from the considerable risk of damage by wildfires. We work throughout the year with partners - including landowners, fire and rescue services and local farmers - to monitor conditions and ensure that teams can respond to incidents effectively when they occur.”
The wild fire risk in at-risk zones (such as the National Park) is assessed by the Fire Severity Index (FSI), based upon a number of criteria analysed by the Met Office. In recent days this has been between low and medium risk.
The National Park added: “As the recent warm spell means visitors may be enjoying activities we might otherwise associate with the summer months – which can carry a risk of fire, it is more important than ever that people take care and consider the potential impacts of wild fire when enjoying the outdoors.”
The majority of wildfires are unintentional, caused through carelessness. The most common causes are:
• Unextinguished/poorly managed barbeques
• Discarded cigarettes
• Litter, including glass which causes intense heat
If someone sees smoke or fire on the moors, report it immediately to the Fire and Rescue Service on 999.