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Moorland fires concern
9:15am Wednesday 7th August 2013 in News
EXTREME weather across North Yorkshire has left moorland at increased risk of wildfires, landowners have warned.
The Moorland Association said a period of icy winds in March dessicated heather on the moors, leaving large patches of tinder-dry dead material which has increased the risk of fires, as well as reducing feeding and breeding habitat for wildlife.
The recent hot, dry conditions have also increased the risk of fires among the dead heather, while also increasing the number of visitors to the moorlands where they can accidentally start fires.
George Winn-Darley, the Moorland Association’s representative for the North York Moors, said although the weather has damped down recently, a few days of dry weather could see a return to high-risk conditions.
He said: “The problem which has crept up this year, which many moor managers said they’ve not experienced before, occurred back in March.
“Over a 48-hour period, there was a very cold easterly wind which completely dessicated the heather, anything that was at all exposed.”
Mr Winn-Darley, who owns the Spaunton Estate, said: “It’s all coming together to mean that the risk of intense severely damaging wildfires has gone up and therefore we want to be managing and mitigating that risk.”
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