2 June 2023
Concern about wildfires in the North York Moors National Park is growing, as a period of dry weather continues across the UK.
The low levels of recent rainfall, coupled with very dry ground vegetation such as heather and bracken, has forced the National Park Authority to officially announce a fire alert. Warning signs will now be erected across the North York Moors, advising people of the danger and how they can help reduce the risk.
The announcement comes following a fire on Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Fen Bog nature reserve in the North York Moors last month, and as firefighters continue to battle an extremely serious fire in the Scottish Highlands and further fires on Marsden Moor in West Yorkshire.
Malcolm Hodgson, National Trails Officer for the North York Moors National Park, said:
“While the term ‘wildfire’ might lead people to think that these events are natural or spontaneous, it’s the actions of people that pose the greatest risks.
“Prolonged dry weather creates the right environment for fire to spread quickly and out of control, but the initial spark is nearly always due to human behaviour.
“Wildfires are a complete disaster for our very special habitats. It is devastating to see the damage they cause. Peatland fires are also extremely difficult to extinguish and release significant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.”
People visiting the North York Moors are asked to be vigilant to the risks. Under no circumstance should anyone be using barbeques or lighting campfires, and great care should be taken when disposing of items such as cigarettes or glass bottles. This includes throwing cigarette ends out of car windows, which can lead to roadside fires that spread into sensitive landscapes.
If people see a fire, they should report it quickly to the fire service by dialling 999.
Communications Officer, North York Moors National Park Authority
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 become 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 7.7 million visitors a year.
The National Park has two visitor centres, Danby Lodge National Park Centre 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. To view other press releases and for further information about the North York Moors National Park, visit www.northyorkmoors.org.uk