This is an archived press release
Monday 30 April 2007
30 April 2007
Help prevent moorland fires in Peak District National Park
People are being urged to help prevent the risk of moorland fires in the Peak District National Park after the warmest April on record.
The Met Office’s fire hazard forecast has reached “extreme” – at which point walkers are still welcome to use footpaths and rights of way, but the right to go off the beaten track under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) has to be temporarily suspended.
National Park head of access and recreation Sean Prendergast emphasised: “This does not mean that the Peak District is closed. People are welcome to walk all over the National Park as long as they stick to public footpaths – there are still 2,200km of rights of way fully open.”
Signs are being erected at moorland access points telling walkers about the temporary suspension, which will be lifted as soon as the risk subsides – expected toward the end of the week.
People are asked not to smoke, light naked flames or have barbecues anywhere near moorland areas.
Higher-risk locations on 240 sq km of moorland are being patrolled by rangers with binoculars, maps, two-way radios and mobile phones to convey accurate information to fire control rooms. The Peak District Fire Operations Group is on standby to go into action with specialised equipment to douse any blazes that do arise.
Sean Prendergast explained: “A fire will only break out if somebody starts it, either through carelessness or a deliberate act of malice.
“We want to appeal to people to take extra care not to smoke or light fires in the area, or even throw cigarette butts out of car-windows. It only takes a spark to cause a devastating blaze, from which the moorland habitats and wildlife take years to recover.”
Climbers are still welcome to use Stanage Edge, the Roaches and Burbage Edge, as long as they only use public paths to get there and keep off the moorland.
The Peak District Fire Operations Group includes the National Park Authority, all six fire and rescue services that cover the National Park, the National Trust, Severn Trent Water, United Utilities, and major moorland owners.
For more information contact the Peak District National Park Authority on 01629 816200.