Wildfires have a devastating effect on the moorland environment

Wildfires have a devastating effect on the moorland environment

National park bosses are appealing to visitors to take extra care not to spark wildfires during the exceptionally prolonged warm weather.

Dartmoor national park said walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts should be vigilant in reducing the risk of moorland fires as the hot spell is forecast to continue.

Andrew Watson, head of recreation, access and estates for the park authority, said: “We obviously want people to come and enjoy Dartmoor, but we would urge them to do what they can to help us prevent a fire from breaking out.”

The recent spell of exceptionally dry weather has made moorland vegetation extremely vulnerable to fire risk. Moorland fires could spread very quickly and could be devastating to the landscape and its wildlife, and to ground-nesting birds at this time of the year.

Simon Lee, ranger team manager said: “Discarded cigarettes, matches, lighters or glass bottles can start fires. If portable barbeques are being used, they should be placed on a rock to prevent damage to vegetation.

“Care should also be taken with camping stoves and fuel. All rubbish should be taken home and disposed of responsibly.”

In the event of seeing a fire, members of the public are asked to report it quickly to the fire service by phoning 999 so that they can take appropriate action.

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