Moorland fires at Marsden Moor

Devastating fires have destroyed the landscape and wildlife at Marsden Moor. The biggest fire, in April 2019, damaged 700 hectares of moorland and took four days to put out. In April 2021, we suffered another large fire following a dry spell of weather.

The fires on Marsden Moor caused widespread devastation to this special landscape. Thanks to the support of National Trust members and the local community, we've raised over £100,000 so far to help repair the damage. This money has been used for things like replacing equipment, repairing fences and planting more spahgnum moss. But there's still more that needs to be done. 

Help save Marsden Moor Donate today

Although it looks like much of the grass has already grown back on the moor, the damage is deep and long lasting. The moor’s lost its diverse range of plants which help support the rare birds and mountain hares that live there. Important peat soils have been scorched and destroyed, the front line in the battle against climate change. This peat will take hundreds if not thousands of years to recover. 

It’s estimated that the fires in 2019 caused £500,000 worth of damage. The fire in April 2021 caused a further £200,000 worth of damage.

Spotting fires early is vital
A plume of smoke above Marsden Moor caused by a fire
Spotting fires early is vital

What we’re doing to repair the damage

Marsden Moor is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation due to the ground nesting bird population and blanket bog habitat. It’s really important to protect this.

The money raised so far has helped us continue our work to protect the moor and raise awareness of the dangers of moorland fires. Thanks to the generous donations we've been able to:

  • Plant hundreds of sphagnum moss plants to help re-wet the moor and improve its resiliance to future fires.
  • Replace important fire fighting equipment, like specialist vehicles and beaters.
  • Replace and repair fences and stiles that are damaged in fires.
  • Build leaky dams that help slow the flow of water and reduce the spread of fires.
Our rangers worked closely with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to tackle the fire at Marsden Moor
A National Trust ranger and West Yorkshire fire fighter tackle the fire on Marsden Moor.
Our rangers worked closely with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to tackle the fire at Marsden Moor

Here are some of the things our ranger team and volunteers have been doing to help proactively manage and reduce wildfire risk:

  • We run a joint campaign with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to encourage people to #bemooraware of the risks of moorland fires. This includes putting up signs and spreading the word on social media.

  • Helped local councils enforce an order banning BBQs and open fires on the moors during the summer.

  • We regularly attend the Peak District and South Pennines Fire Operation Groups to share best practice.

  • We work closely with Slaithwaite Fire Station to undertake joint moorland fire training operations and to share local knowledge on access and transferable skills.

  • Our rangers and volunteers receive training each year to use our firefighting equipment so that we're ready to help the fire service if required.

  • We have a moorland fire plan and can call for the use of a helicopter to help put fires out.

  • Set up a community fire watch initiative, working with volunteers and people from the local community.

How you can help

We your help to prevent the risk of fire across the countryside that we care for, particularly when we experience prolonged periods of dry weather or are in drought conditions.

If you see a fire or someone using a BBQ on Marsden Moor, please dial 999.

Please take your litter home, as discarded bottles can cause fires. Please dispose of cigarettes responsibly. Fires, BBQs, fireworks and sky lanterns are banned on Marsden Moor all year round.

Thank you for helping us look after Marsden Moor.

Give to the Marsden Moor fires appeal

Thank you for your support so far, but we still need your help. If you can, please consider giving to our Marsden Moor fires appeal.