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Moor fires prompt countryside warning

[Wednesday 11 April 2007]

FOLLOWING the recent spate of moor fires over the Bank Holiday weekend, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are reminding people to take extra care whilst visiting the countryside.

We are looking to the public to help us and enjoy the countryside safely and responsibly

Carl Boasman - North Yorkshire Fire Service

Every year, fires destroy thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats. Most of these fires are started deliberately and the majority are due to carelessness.

Whilst the Fire Service want people to enjoy the countryside, they are reiterating a number of important safety points:

  • Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows
  • Do not light barbeques or open fires on or near moorland areas
  • Keep young children and ball games away from barbecues
  • Ensure that your barbecue is fully extinguished and cold before disposing of the contents
  • Do not leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start large fires. Dispose of glass appropriately

In the last ten years, there have been 85 moors fire within North Yorkshire, of varying degrees of seriousness. The fires vary from minor grassland fires requiring the attendance of one or two fire appliances, to major fires requiring the attendance of large numbers of fire appliances and personnel over a number of days, covering large areas.

Due to a recent period of dry weather, the Fire Severity Index for the countryside is classed as moderate, which means the risk of a fire starting is increased.

We have recently seen fires break out in parts of the Yorkshire Dales; around Masham, Embsay Moor and on the North York Moors.

When fires in the countryside occur, the implications for the Fire and Rescue Service can be enormous. Station Manager Carl Boasman, says:

"When fires start on moorland or in forestry, the resource implications for the Fire and Rescue Service are huge. We face many difficulties when dealing with countryside fires. Access difficulties, location of water supplies and the length of time on scene often commits large numbers of our resources for days at a time.

"Although we are experienced and equipped to deal with these types of incident, our aim is to prevent fires before they start. We are looking to the public to help us and enjoy the countryside safely and responsibly."

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