The North Pennines AONB Partnership wants everyone who visits the countryside to be on the lookout for wildfires in the countryside.
Even though there has been rain during Easter, the unseasonably good weather following on from a particularly dry end to the winter means that there is a higher risk of fire across large parts of the UK. Wildfires have already occurred in Scotland, England and Wales in March and so people are being asked to be especially careful and vigilant.
Simon Wilson, Project Development Officer with the North Pennines AONB Partnership, explained that uncontrolled fires can cause significant damage to valuable habitats like moorland. “In spring there are large numbers of chicks in the North Pennines which are at threat from wildfires. In addition, wildfires can have a devastating effect on rural businesses. We are asking people to be careful when visiting the countryside, by discarding cigarettes appropriately and not having barbecues.”
Andy Whitehead, who is the District Manager with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, explained that wildfires are “very difficult to manage and take a huge amount of effort to bring under control.”
Fire and Rescue Services across the country are specially trained to deal with wildfire incidents, but the fire services ask the public to be vigilant and report any fires to the emergency services.
The AONB Partnership works with other organisations through wildfire groups to reduce the incidence and risks of wildfires, especially on moorland and in forests. It and other groups have created a wildfire awareness poster campaign to warn about the risks of uncontrolled fires. The poster campaign also reinforces the need to report wild fires. Copies can be downloaded from the AONB Partnership’s website, www.northpennines.org.uk, or by contacting Simon Wilson on 01388 528801.
The AONB Partnership works with other organisations through wildfire groups (see Note 6) to reduce the incidence and risks of wildfires, especially on moorland and in forests.