Wildfires are devastating for moorland wildlife, livestock and people, and may burn for days or weeks. Visitors can take action to reduce the risk of wildfire.
Thousands of visitors enjoy the stunning Peak District and South Pennine uplands every year. But these treasured areas can go up in smoke in just a few minutes. Fast reporting can be the difference between a small fire and a huge catastrophe.
Peatland in good condition has a high water table (ground water is close to the surface) which helps to reduce the risk of it catching light. But much of the peatland in the Peak District and South Pennines is much drier than it ought to be and the dry peat will burn. Fire can spread below the surface before re-emerging and igniting the surface vegetation. Dry weather and strong winds may mean fire moves quickly across the surface of the moor, burning everything in its path.
Moorland fires are easily started by people lighting barbeques, campfires and cigarettes, and even by glass bottles. Visitors enjoying the moors may not realise that they have started a fire. Although they put their fire out, it may have caught the underground layers of peat alight. It can continue to burn, unseen, underground for days or weeks before re-emerging to ignite the surface. Dry surface vegetation can catch light from a cigarette or the heat generated by sunshine on a bottle and then spread quickly.
Visitors are able to find out how to Be Fire Aware through Fire on the Moors and two specially developed games: Fire Ranger and Fire Danger.
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