Dry conditions forced the North York Moors National Park Authority to announce a fire alert today (Thursday).
Visitors to the park should be extra vigilant as continuing dry weather has led to an increased risk of moorland and forest fires.
Staff from the authority will be putting fire risk warning signs up on moorland sites this week advising people how they can help to reduce the risk. The signs will remain in place until the fire risk passes.
The key message from the park’s rangers is: enjoy the park but be extra careful.
The sunny weather is set to continue over the Bank Holiday weekend and this, coupled with a lack of rain and very dry ground vegetation such as heather and bracken, has prompted the decision by the authority to put the North York Moors on fire alert.
Bernie McLinden, the North York Moors National Park Authority’s head of park management, said, “Past episodes have shown that under these tinderbox conditions, moorland fires can spread extremely quickly causing significant damage to the landscape and its wildlife. Moorland fires at this time of year can be particularly devastating as birds such as lapwing and curlew are nesting on the ground. The majority of moorland fires can be prevented so we would urge people to take extra care when visiting the National Park while the fire risk signs are in place.”
People are asked to avoid lighting fires and barbeques and not to discard cigarettes, matches or glass bottles including throwing cigarette ends out of car windows. If people see a fire, they should report it quickly to the fire service by dialling 999 so that they can take the appropriate action. As the controlled heather burning period for gamekeepers has now ended, any fire spotted will be an accidental fire and should be reported.