Council bans fires and barbecues after devastating Yorkshire moor blazes

A Yorkshire council has banned fires and barbecues following a spate of moor fires in the county - including at Ilkley Moor and Marsden Moor.

The fire on Marsden Moor. Photo from WYFRS.
The fire on Marsden Moor. Photo from WYFRS.

Kirklees Council has brought into force a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which bans fires, BBQs and other dangerous objects such as fireworks and sky lanterns to protect the environment.

The items are now banned on Council, National Trust and Yorkshire Water-owned land.

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From Friday, April 26 anyone found lighting a fire or a barbecue will have it extinguished and be fined anything up to £150.

If people refuse to pay the fixed penalty notice then it could lead to conviction by a court and a fine of £1000.

Kirklees Council said there are exemptions for private residential land.

The order will be in place until Thursday, October 31.

The news follows Colne Valley MP Thelma Walker's pledge to raise a question in the Commons on tightening the regulations on disposable barbecues after the 'devastating' fires.

The barbecue ban is being backed by The National Trust, West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service shared their support by tweeting: "We are supporting this ban in Kirklees to help protect our precious countryside.

"Please respect the ban and help educate people about the dangers of moorland fires. We all just want a safe and enjoyable Summer."

Kirklees District Commander Toby May said: “Whilst we do not wish to stop people from enjoying the spring and summertime in the great outdoors, we fully support this ban in order to protect our precious countryside from fire.

"The events of the last few days have illustrated just how quickly fire spreads when vegetation is dry and the consequences are devastating to the landscape, flora and fauna.

"Not only that but when a rampant fire takes hold it can quickly pose a real threat to human life should there be people or properties in the vicinity. Due to the actions of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS), national and local partners this has not happened on this occasion.

"The fire on Marsden Moor has required a huge Fire Service resource and the tireless efforts of numerous WYFRS staff to bring the incident to a conclusion. We urge people to take this ban seriously and educate youngsters about the risks associated with moorland fires to help prevent similar incidents in the future.”

Chief Superintendent Julie Sykes, District Commander for Kirklees Police, said: “We fully support this ban and would urge everyone visiting the moors and other outdoor areas to be aware of their surroundings and to take sensible and appropriate precautions.”

The ban follows the Marsden Moor fire which was started by a discarded barbecue on Sunday, April 21.

More than 300 hectares of moorland were affected by the fire on Marsden Moor.

The National Trust said it was the most significant fire in recent years on the moorland.

Craig Best, Countryside Manager for the National Trust in West Yorkshire, said: “Following the devastating fire at Marsden, we welcome this effort by Kirklees Council to try to prevent future fires from breaking out. We will continue to promote public safety on our land, and work in partnership with others to promote the protection and enjoyment of this special place.”

Ilkley Moor was also devastated by a large-scale fire on Saturday, April 20.

More than 50 acres of Moorland were ablaze.

A teenager was charged with arson for the fire.