As the prolonged period of warm dry weather set to continue during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and in to the school half term holidays, Bradford Council is encouraging everyone to do their bit to prevent wildfires and stay safe around open water.
The risk of wildfire is increasing and The Met Office's Fire Severity Index (FSI) is set to climb to ‘High’. The Natural Hazards Partnership have also elevated their alert level to “amber” with all indications that the risk and consequences of any outbreak are increasing.
There have already been several major wildfires on moorland across the region this year, with the latest being on Marsden Moor near Huddersfield this week.
A smouldering disposable barbecue and rubbish was also left on moorland in the Bradford district already this week, so Bradford Council is once again repeating their reminders that barbeques and fires of any kind are not allowed on the moors. This ban is covered by a Public Space Protection Order and people can be fined up to £2,500 and/or receive a prison sentence.
The Council is stepping up its vigilance and is asking others to do the same. Anyone who see a fire or someone using a BBQ on moorland is asked to dial 999 and ask for the fire service.
During the warmer weather people are tempted to try to cool off in open water such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs which can be extremely dangerous. Anything below 15ºC is classed as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement, this is cold water shock which can lead to drowning.
Other dangers include hidden objects such as submerged strainers that water can pass through but a person would get stuck, tree branches, rubbish, even vehicles that may have been washed downstream all present risks
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “Moorlands are a precious resource and the impacts of wildfire are devastating and can last for significant amounts of time. We want people to enjoy these areas but at the same time people need to be responsible and respect the moors, so we are urging people to comply with the ban on BBQs and fires.
“During the warmer weather people are more tempted to take risks around water and this has tragically and all too recently taken lives. We are encouraging people to resist the temptation to cool off in open water and also to talk to their young people about the dangers.”
District Commander Chris Kovacs from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Fires on moorland can spread incredibly quickly and pose an immediate threat to people, wildlife in the nearby area and potentially threaten nearby properties.
“These fires take a considerable amount of time and resources to extinguish. We would much rather deal with an illegal barbeque in progress than a wildfire, so if people see a fire or someone using a BBQ on moorland, please dial 999 and ask for Fire and Rescue.”
“We echo the council’s call for people to take care around water and if you see someone trouble remember to Call, Tell, Throw. Call 999 and ask for Fire and Rescue, Tell them to float on their back and Throw them something that floats.”
For information about the #BeMoorAware campaign visit: www.westyorksfire.gov.uk/safety/be-moor-aware-wildfire-safety