A firefighter at the scene on Iklley Moor. Image: Martyn Hughes/North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

A firefighter at the scene on Iklley Moor. Image: Martyn Hughes/North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

A major wildfire has devastated a large area of Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire.

At the height of the blaze, about 70 firefighters were at the scene near White Wells on the hillside overlooking the town.

Police warned walkers and climbers to stay away from the area as efforts to contain the fire continued.

A separate wildfire on nearby Bingley Moor also led to the closure of paths in the area, near Dick Hudson’s pub at Eldwick. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service also had to deal with a wildfire near Ogden Water north of Halifax.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue crews from Bingley, Shipley, Keighley and Rawdon were involved in the operation to bring the Ilkley Moor fire under control. The wildfire unit from Keighley also tackled the blaze, a West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue spokesperson said.

A helicopter has also been used to scoop water from a nearby reservoir and drop it on to the fire-hit areas.

Crews from Skipton and Grassington, from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, also joined West Yorkshire colleagues at the two large moorland fires.

The blazes came as temperatures in the area hit the mid-20s, with ground tinder-dry after a prolonged period without substantial rain.

Crews used beaters, aqua backpacks, leaf blowers and ultralight portable pumps to tackle the Ilkley Moor fire.

Ilkley Moor is criss-crossed by numerous footpaths and is also home to several rock-climbing routes on the Cow and Calf and nearby quarry and Rocky Valley.

It was formerly used for grouse shooting but landowner Bradford Council stopped the practice last year.

It is also home to several Neolithic or Bronze Age carved rocks. It is designated as a site of special scientific interest and is part of the South Pennine Moors special protection area and special area of conservation.

West Yorkshire Police said they had made arrests in connection with the fire on Ilkley Moor.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue watch manager Martyn Hughes posted footage of the fire on social media.

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