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National Park warns ‘fires could devastate wildlife so no BBQs’

Fire risk notice on gateFire risk notice on gate

28 May 2020

The North York Moors National Park Authority is reminding the public that no-one should be lighting fires or barbecues in the open countryside as there is a high risk of wildfires, which could cause serious and lasting harm to wildlife.

The North York Moors is a cherished landscape that provides crucial habitat for internationally important assemblages of ground nesting breeding birds like Merlin, Golden Plover and Curlew. Woodland and forest also covers 23% of the National Park. However, since 18 April the National Park has remained on fire alert following sustained dry spells putting this precious landscape at increased risk to wildfires.

As restrictions on travel have been eased, the Authority is urging people to recognise the potential devastation that could be caused if fires started from barbecues get out of control. Only recently Wareham Forest in Dorset suffered a terrible fire with 11 disposable barbecues found in the area.

Senior Ranger, Bernie McLinden, said: “The National Park is home to many species including adders and slow worms which can’t escape damaging and uncontrolled fires started through arson or carelessly discarded BBQ’s, glass bottles, cigarettes and rubbish. Many birds such as Merlin, Golden Plover and Curlew are also currently nesting on the ground with fledglings at their most vulnerable.

“Our message is simple, please do not have barbecues or start any form of fire in the open countryside. Fire damage can be devastating and take many years for habitats and species to recover. At this time, it is also important to remember that any wildfires would put unnecessary strain on the emergency services as they combat COVID-19. Please remain extra vigilant and report any fires immediately to the fire service.”

He also wanted to remind anyone who lives near to moorland, forests and grasslands of the risks to wildfires spreading from garden fires and BBQs.

If people see a fire, they should report it quickly to the fire and rescue service by dialling 999.


Media contact

Charlie Fox, Communications Officer, North York Moors National Park Authority

01439 772700

The North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, ancient woodland and historic sites. Created on 28 November 1952 it became Britain’s sixth national park. Covering an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square kilometres), the National Park has 26 miles of coastline, two national nature reserves, 840 Scheduled Monuments and over 3,000 listed buildings, attracting an estimated 8 million visitors a year.

The National Park has two visitor centres, The Moors National Park Centre, Danby and Sutton Bank National Park Centre, providing opportunities for cycling, walking, eating, picnicking, shopping, crafts and wildlife-watching. The centre in Danby also houses the Inspired by… gallery, which features regularly changing exhibitions by artists who draw their inspiration from the North York Moors.

The North York Moors National Park Authority works with a wide variety of people to care for this beautiful corner of Yorkshire, providing apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities with nearly 14% of staff being apprentices from local families.

Further information about the North York Moors National Park and other press releases are available here: