Fires and BBQs are now banned on open public spaces in Kirklees, in a joined-up effort to tackle dangerous grassland blazes.
This tough stances comes after the most recent Marsden Moor fire, which was started by a discarded BBQ, estimated to have covered more than 10sq kilometres of moorland.
The fire is now under control and has been extinguished, but the National Trust said that an investment of up to £360,000 in restoring the special habitat at Marsden Moor has been lost.
In a bid to protect the local environment and wildlife, 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, on Council, National Trust and Yorkshire Water-owned land.
From Friday 26 April, 2019 anyone found to be lighting a fire or BBQ will have it extinguished and be given a fixed penalty notice of up to £150. Failure to pay this could lead to conviction by a court and a maximum fine of £1000. There are exemptions for private residential land.
This order will be in place from 26 April-31 October, 2019.
This robust stance is being backed by The National Trust, West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Yorkshire Water.
Karl Battersby, Strategic Director for Economy and Infrastructure at Kirklees Council, said: “Bonfires and BBQs have always been prohibited in council parks and open spaces. But the increased risk of fire and people continuing to ignore the signs means we have to enforce this for the safety of visitors, local residents and animals and other wildlife nearby.
“We sincerely hope that we don’t have to issue any fines at all and that people will respect what we’re trying to do. However, we will not hesitate in taking action against those who show disregard to our borough by continuing to light fires and BBQs.
“I urge anyone visiting one of our fantastic parks and open spaces to please be respectful; don’t light fires and BBQs, or use Chinese lanterns or fireworks and leave the spaces as you found them by putting rubbish in a bin or taking it home with you.”
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s 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.”