Moorland fires at Marsden Moor
Devastating fires destroyed the landscape and wildlife at Marsden Moor in 2019. The biggest fire, in April, damaged 700 hectares of moorland and took four days to put out. In 2020, we saw more fires despite a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The fires in 2019 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. But there's still more that needs to be done.
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.
In total, it’s estimated that the fires in 2019 caused £500,000 worth of damage.
What we’re doing to help
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.
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 Slaithewaite 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.
We’ve also been working with Moors for the Future Partnership and Yorkshire Water for a number of years to re-wet Marsden Moor. Doing this helps to reduce the risk of wildfires, reduces downstream flooding and acts as a carbon store.
We’re grateful to the support and hard work of West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, our staff and volunteers for responding quickly to contain the fires as much as possible.
How you can help
Although the appeal has already raised over £100,000, the fires caused an estimated £500,000 worth of damage. If you can, please consider giving to the Marsden Moor fires appeal.
We also need 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.
Help us protect the moors and wildlife by calling the fire service immediately if you spot any signs of fire. Please also mention that it's a moorland fire.
You can make all the difference in limiting fire risk by just following simple measures included in the countryside code. Such as taking your litter home, making sure any lit cigarettes are properly extinguished and disposed of responsibly, and never lighting fires or BBQs.
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.