Farming News - Visitors urged to take care as hot Easter weather sparks wave of moorland fires

Visitors urged to take care as hot Easter weather sparks wave of moorland fires

23 Apr 2019

Rural insurer NFU Mutual is calling for visitors to the countryside to take extreme care to avoid starting grass and moorland fires.

An exceptionally dry spring followed by a hot East weekend has led to tinder-dry conditions and dozens of fires breaking out from the South West of England through Wales to the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

NFU Mutual is concerned that the current unusually dry conditions could lead to grassland and arable crop fires.

Major Easter countryside fires include:

  • Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire – a large moorland fire is believed to have been started by people enjoying a BBQ.
  • Ilkely Moor – three people have been arrested following a blaze tackled by more than 100 firefighters
  • Mourne Mountains Northern Ireland – a mile-long fire broke out which took 50 firefighters to bring it under control
  • In Moray, over 30 firefighters have tackled a huge moorland fire which threatened to destroy one of Scotland’s largest wind farms near Elgin
  • In Wales, homes have been evacuated as a fire which started near the Blaenau Ffestiniog slate quarries threatened to spread to the neighbouring village

“The huge moorland fires we are seeing are a stark warning to the damage fires can cause in very dry conditions,” said Tim Price, NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist.

“A very dry spring followed by high temperatures over Easter mean that huge areas of land across the whole of the UK are at risk of fire – putting lives of people and farm animals at risk as well as destroying wildlife and growing crops.”

 “Although some rain is forecast over the next few days, the countryside is extremely dry and remains at risk of fire.”

He also called for country dwellers and visitors to report people acting suspiciously on moorland to police as a number of fires are believed to have been started deliberately.