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Help prevent moorland fires in Peak District National Park
People are being urged to help prevent the risk of moorland fires in the Peak District National Park as temperatures continue to soar.
As a precaution, the right to go off the beaten track onto open moorland under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) has been suspended for the first time since open access was launched here in 2004 – although walkers are still welcome to use all public rights of way.
National Park head of access and recreation Sean Prendergast emphasised: “This does not mean that the Peak District is closed. People are welcome to walk all over the National Park as long as they stick to public footpaths – there are still 2,200km of rights of way fully open.”
The Peak District Fire Operations Group is on standby to spring into action with specialised equipment to douse any blazes that do arise, and people are asked not to smoke, light naked flames or have barbecues anywhere near moorland areas.
Higher-risk locations on 240 sq km of moorland are being patrolled from dawn to dusk by rangers with binoculars, maps, two-way radios and mobile phones to convey accurate information to fire control rooms.
One of the major moorland owners, the National Trust, is bringing in temporary inflatable dams that can be set up quickly and filled with water to supply helicopters.
Sean Prendergast explained: “A fire will only break out if somebody starts it, either through carelessness or a deliberate act of malice.
“We want to appeal to people to take extra care not to smoke or light fires in the area, or even throw cigarette butts out of car-windows. It only takes a spark to cause a devastating blaze, from which the moorland habitats and wildlife take years to recover.”
Signs are being erected at moorland access points telling walkers about the temporary suspension, which will be lifted as soon as the risk subsides. The situation will be reviewed after the weekend. People with any queries may contact the National Park Authority on 01629 816361.
Climbers are still welcome to use Stanage Edge, the Roaches and Burbage Edge, as long as they only use public paths to get there and keep off the moorland.
The Peak District Fire Operations Group includes the National Park Authority, all six fire and rescue services that cover the National Park, the National Trust, Severn Trent Water, United Utilities, the Peak Park Moorland Owners and Tenants Association and Pennine Helicopters.