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Fire Service warns against reckless behaviour on moors as police launch investigation into significant blaze

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is warning against reckless behaviour on the moorland after tackling yet another widespread fire yesterday, this time near Widdop Reservoir, Hebden Bridge.

The joint effort also pulled resources from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to tackle the significant blaze.

Eight crews and two wildfire units from WYFRS attended after our Control Room was called at 12.23pm on what was a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters worked into the evening to bring the incident under control and today (April 20) crews from Lancashire and West Yorkshire have remained onsite damping down hotspots and any flare-ups that have occurred.

Meanwhile investigations into the cause are ongoing and West Yorkshire Police have launched an enquiry.

Area Manager for WYFRS, Scott Donegan, said: “We are really disappointed to be called out to tackle yet another preventable moorland fire.

“All fires on moorland are preventable, whatever their cause, and we are dismayed to be dealing with yet another fire of this type which poses a drain on our resources at a time when we are trying to focus on supporting communities through the Coronavirus challenge we are facing.

“Moorland fires not only put the public at risk but also our firefighters because they are so unpredictable in nature and challenging to tackle, often spanning many kilometers.”

The National Wildfire Severity Index is currently ‘very high’ risk for the West Yorkshire.

Scott added: “We are also experiencing a very sunny period which means that vegetation is very dry and we urge people to be incredibly careful should they be on the moorland. Careless, or indeed reckless behaviour, can have terrible consequences and is completely unacceptable – people should think twice.

“Last year we launched a campaign called Be Moor Aware alongside our partners and we would stress this message again that people should respect the moors.”

Inspector Ben Doughty of the Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:

“This was a serious incident and I would like to appeal to anyone with information about what happened to call police on 101 quoting log 871 of Sunday 19 April. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and we are following reports that people were seen at the scene. We would urge people to follow advice by the Fire and Rescue Service around being careful at all times around moorland which is particularly dry and fragile.”

To follow the #BeMoorAware campaign visit @WYFRS on Twitter or visit our official Facebook page.

You can also visit the dedicated moorland fire safety page on our website here:

https://www.westyorksfire.gov.uk/your-safety/community/be-moor-aware/