Wildfires devastate countryside

CLA National Access Adviser Sophie Dwerryhouse explains why acting responsibly in the countryside will minimise the risk of wildfires

As many members will know, we are continuing with our efforts in relation to spreading the word about the Countryside Code, its messaging and the greater need for education about accessing and enjoying the countryside.

With dry and sunny conditions set to continue, more people are expected to flock to the countryside over the bank holiday weekend. The CLA is urging people to refrain from using barbecues and lighting fires during their visits, particularly after such a long spell of warm weather without rain.

News of yet another devasting wild fire, this week at Marsden Moor, was sadly not met with surprise. Not only firefighters but local farmers, gamekeepers and volunteers from the Mountain Rescue have been working tirelessly to extinguish the fire. Oldham Mountain Rescue Team credit the local rural workers’ whose ‘great effort’ and ‘local knowledge was invaluable when finding the best routes to access the area using off-road vehicles in order to get water and kit to the right places’. Sensibly, by use of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), the lighting of fires, BBQs, fireworks and Chinese lanterns have now been banned in the High Peak to prevent further incidents occurring.

We are all aware of the devastating consequences for livestock, wildlife, climate change and for those living and working in rural areas when wild fires strike. While we want everyone to enjoy themselves in the countryside, it is vitally important people act safely and responsibly.

Natural England has confirmed that Countryside Code A5 fliers are now available and can be requested by emailing their general enquiries team at: Enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk. These may be of interest to members with tourism-related businesses who would like to display fliers. It will help everyone if visitors and rural communities alike take to heart the spirit of the Countryside Code; Respect, Protect, Enjoy.

Key contact:

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Sophie Dwerryhouse Regional Director, CLA Midlands