Urgent plea issued over barbecues after series of moorland fires in Peak District

Firefighters have issued another plea to the public not to have barbecues in the Peak District after a series of moorland fires.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 10:08 am
Updated Friday, 9th April 2021, 12:35 pm

Crews have tackled several blazes in the area over the last few days with barbecues thought to be the cause of many of them.

And the Peak District Moorland Group said gamekeepers had dealt with 17 disposable barbecues in the area in just a few days last week.

While the country enjoyed hot weather last Tuesday, March 30, six fire crews were called to Birchen Edge, Baslow where they tackled a moorland fire covering about one-hectare of grassland and bracken.

Mountain Rescuers helping with a large moorland fire at Rushup Edge found a barbecue at the scene.

Working with National Trust Rangers, they were able to contain the fire and prevent any further spread.

Then just 24 hours later, firefighters from Glossop, Buxton and Hyde tackled another moorland fire at Woodhead Tunnel in Glossop last Wednesday night.

Crews worked with Peak District Moorland Group game keepers to bring the fire under control.

On Easter Saturday, April 3, firefighters from Chapel-en-le-Frith, Buxton, Bakewell, New Mills, Glossop and Marple, attended a fire involving approximately three hectares of farmland at Rushup Edge. They were supported by mountain rescue teams and Peak District National Park rangers.

Firefighters tackling a large moorland fire at Rushup Edge.

Crews used an all terrain vehicle, fan blowers, beaters and water packs to extinguish the fire and protect an area of farmland where ewes were lambing.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Moorland fires not only destroy our beautiful countryside, they destroy vital habitat for our wildlife.

"They are labour intensive and take vital emergency services away from being available to respond to other emergencies.”

They later added: “The evidence is in - a portable bbq was found by mountain rescue at the scene of the moorland fire at Rushup Edge.

Firefighters tackled a moorland blaze at Woodhead Tunnel near Glossop last week

“Clear evidence people are not listening to our pleas to leave the bbq at home!

“Come on everyone - this is your countryside, let’s protect it together! Leave the bbq at home - grab a sandwich, pack a picnic but don’t be irresponsible and take a bbq!

“Help us spread the message that taking BBQs into the Peak District is irresponsible no matter how careful you think you are being!”

The Peak District National Park authority also called on people to look after the area.

An area of damaged moorland in the Peak District after a fire.

They said: “The open countryside of the PeakDistrict is not a place to have your BBQ or open fire.

“Please do not put wildlife, landscapes, livelihoods and the lives of those fighting fires at risk.”

There are fears that another large scale fire, like that seen at Saddleworth Moor in 2018, which burned for almost three weeks and involved over 200 firefighters, could happen again.

Amanda Anderson of the Moorland Association said: “It’s only a matter of time before there is yet another huge wildfire that will cause severe devastation on a scale similar to Saddleworth, Marsden Moor and Winter Hill, not to mention the massive CO2 emissions that result. ”

And Richard Bailey of the Peak District Moorland Group said: “We appreciate that members of the public are frustrated post-lockdown and deserve some fresh air. All we ask is that people stick to the Countryside Code. Fires – including camp fires and barbecues – should never be lit on moorland. These incidents are totally unnecessary and put additional strain on firefighters.”