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Look out for Fire Awareness Week roadshows

This is an archived press release

Thursday 31 March 2005

31 March 2005

Look out for Fire Awareness Week roadshows

The burning issue of moorland fires will be lit up this month with a Fire Awareness Week (April 16-24) to highlight the destructive power of accidental blazes on the moors.

Eleven roadshows will drive home the message to dispose of cigarettes carefully and refrain from lighting campfires or camping stoves on open uplands. Over 6 sq km of Peak District moorland is badly eroded after fire damage, and there have been 345 reported incidences of accidental fires in the last 28 years within the National Park.

The roadshows start off in Glossop (April 16) and Dovestones (April 16-24), going on to Edale (April 17), Castleton (April 20), Fairholmes (April 21), Tittesworth (April 22), Hayfield, Marsden, Surprise View (all April 23), Macclesfield Forest and Torside (both April 24).

Firefighters and equipment from all six fire services who operate in the area, plus National Park Rangers, Moors for the Future, National Trust, United Utilities, Severn Trent Water and moorland keepers will be on hand to give information, answer questions, and hand out a new 'Fire Kills' leaflet and re-usable ashtray pouches.

The organisations are part of a Fire Operations Group which was formed in 1996 to combat moorland blazes by co-ordinating personnel, water supplies, routes for access and the provision of firefighting equipment.

Moor Care Ranger Dan Boys said: "Accidental summer fires are the single biggest factor contributing to the moors' rapid erosion, as they burn deep into the peat, destroying the seed bank and effectively sterilising the soil. With no vegetation to bind the bare peat together, it is at the mercy of wind, rain and frost.

"The Fire Operations Group is aiming to combat the main causes of fires which run out of control, especially arson, discarded cigarettes, campfires and camping stoves."

Peter Arnfield of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Uncontrolled fires that spread rapidly across the relatively inaccessible areas of moorland result in severe loss of wildlife habitat, major ecological damage and have huge financial implications for the organisations that have the responsibility to fight them."

Moors for the Future is a five-year, Heritage Lottery-funded project to restore a large section of eroded Peak District moors, an internationally important habitat for rare species.

The roadshows are part of the Moors for the Future partnership's 'Moor Care Initiative' campaign to raise public awareness of moorland issues such as fires and encourage greater care by visitors.

For further details visit www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk

Issued by the Moors for the Future Partnership

This is an archived press release

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