Birds are at risk from moorland firesA wildfire which devastated more than 300 acres of moorland in West Yorkshire may have been started by a discarded cigarette.

Birds are at risk from moorland fires

The blaze, on Marsden Moor near Scammonden, Huddersfield, is believed to have caused major damage and endangered ground-nesting birds on the National Trust estate. Another fire close by on Rishworth Moor near Baitings Reservoir continued through the night into Tuesday. 30 firefighters remained on duty overnight.

Gemma Wren, countryside manager at the Marsden Moor site, said she feared many birds would have suffered in the fire. She said curlew, twite and golden plover all nested on the moor. She told the BBC: “We have yet to fully gain access to the area following the fire but I'm already saddened by the prospect of what faces the team up there.

“We can only hope that some escaped the blaze and will be able to nest again.”

Ms Wren said a carelessly discarded cigarette was the likely cause of the blaze and urged visitors to put out cigarettes responsibly and take their rubbish home.

Two firefighters were slightly injured while tackling the Rishworth Moor fire. Keith Robinson, of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said he had to pull firefighters off the moor on four occasions as the wind changed direction and put them at risk.

The cause of that blaze is under investigation. Volunteers from Oldham Mountain Rescue Team and Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team helped firefighters from both the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester brigades.

  • Ten fire crews tackled a blaze on Kinder Scout in the Peak District since Monday afternoon.

    Five remained on Tuesday morning and firefighters are still at the scene beating out the blaze.