Firefighters continue to battle Marsden Moor fire

A fire which started yesterday afternoon on Marsden Moor is still on going as firefighters battle to stop the blaze from spreading.

Fire at Marsden Moor - 23rd May 2023

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is still in attendance and has sent in relief crew to the site at Wessenden Lodge, Wessenden Road, Marsden.


Currently the burnt area measures around 2km square and crews are tackling hotspots where there are burning embers that could reignite the dry grass. Crews from Rastrick and Hunslet are in attendance with Todmorden Wildfire Unit, wildfire support and Skelmanthorpe welfare unit.


At the scene is Station Manager Adrian Bairstow, who has been leading the operation since the early hours of this morning. He said crews put the flames out last night, however an area reignited and this morning the flames stretched to 1km in length.


“This morning was the best time to attack the flames as it was cool and there was hardly any wind,” he said. “What we are left with now is a large black area of burnt vegetation measuring around 2km square.


“There are several hot spots within that area where embers are still burning away, but we have now managed to get rid of the flames. Crews are now walking around the perimeter, extinguishing any hot spots at the edges to stop the fire spreading onto fresh grass.


“The fire has spread so quickly because the dry grass burns easily and with this warm weather we know there is no rain coming. Dealing with a fire on this scale is exhausting work for firefighters who have been using beaters and blowers as well as the Argocat.”


SM Bairstow said the blowers in particular have been very effective, similar to leaf blowers used by gardeners they have used them to literally blow out the fire. The Argocat all terrain vehicle has jets to put the flames out and has also been instrumental in fighting the blaze.


“Our wildfire crews have new protective equipment, which includes lighter overalls – as you can imagine, fighting a fire on a warm day can be very tiring in full firefighters kit,” said SM Bairstow.


“We know that this is the seventh fire on Marsden Moor so far this year and we do our best each time to protect the valuable moors and this Site of Special Scientific Interest, famous for its rare ground-nesting birds and blanket peat bogs which are affected by these fires. Investigations will be taking place into the cause of the fire.”