People urged to take care on tinder-dry North York Moors after blaze at Hole of Horcum, near Whitby

People visiting the North York Moors during the warm, dry weather are being urged to take care after a moortop blaze broke out.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 5:31 pm
The RAF Fylingdales crew helping out at the Hole of Horcum moors fire. picture: North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

Rose Fearnley, watch manager at Goathland Fire Station, said while it was hard to determine what had started the fire, it was most likely a dropped light, like a cigarette.

"Sometimes things can smoulder away overnight and as it gets warmer through the day and a there is a bit of a breeze, the fire can develop," she said.

Fire crews hauling a hose up the bank from where the blaze was at the Hole of Horcum, near Whitby. picture: North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

"This one was spreading up the hill.

"The location of the fire meant there were no water sources so fire engines were used to ferry water back and forth from the nearest hydrant on the A169."

The incident followed on from a couple of small fires on the railway line at the weekend and shows how dry it is on the moors at the moment.

The fear is that even a small spark from a bonfire left overnight, a dropped cigarette, a spark from machinery or a barbecue could accidentally start a large fire.

"Wildfires require a lot of resources to put out and tie up fire engines, meaning less are available to respond to other emergencies," said Rose.

"Fires on peat and heather can become deep seated and burn underground for days, flaring up and requiring resources to remain monitoring them.

"They can be devastating to our unique natural environment, damaging peat bogs and other sensitive areas.

"At this time of year, there many birds such as lapwing and curlews with young chicks who are especially vulnerable if there is a fire.

"Almost all wildfires, while usually accidental, are avoidable.

"We are urging people to take extra care, especially during these dry conditions where there is a high risk of fire."

North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue urged people to rake care and ask people to call 999 and ask for the fire service if they spot a wild fire.

They said people can also consider downloading an app like What3Words to help give firefighters an accurate location.