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Recent Spate of Moor Fires Prompt Fire and Rescue Service Warning

4th May 2011

Following the recent spate of moor fires throughout the county and in many parts of the UK, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service wish to remind people to take extra care whilst visiting the countryside.

Every year, fires destroy thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats. Many of these fires are started deliberately and the majority are due to carelessness. Whilst North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service want people to enjoy the countryside, we would like to remind people of some important countryside 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


There are about 100 grass, forest and moors fire within North Yorkshire every year of varying degrees of seriousness. These fires vary from minor grassland fires requiring the attendance of one or two fire appliances, to major fires requiring the attendance of over 20 fire appliances and specialist appliances involving up to 120 personnel over a many of days, covering a large areas and costing in excess of £300,000.

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

When fires in the countryside occur, the implications for the Fire and Rescue Service are great. Group Manager Peter Hudson, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service 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.” He continues “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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