A costly BBQ

Last May, hundreds of acres of land were destroyed by a fire on the moorlands in Lancashire. The fire was devastating and resulted in generational damage. These losses have resulted in the destruction of over 300 nests of birds, which would estimate to the deaths of over 1,000 birds, including globally threatened species such as Curlews, as well as the loss of approximately 625 acres of pristine blanket bog. It also took its toll on the local fire department and emergency services as the fire had to be attended to for four days. 

The fire was an accident caused by a portable barbecue, this is why we are raising awareness to the potential dangers posed by lighting barbecues or any sort of fires on our moorlands. This particular fire has left lasting damage that, unfortunately, is likely to be present for decades to come.

Catchment manager Matthew Upton tells us more about how we’ve worked with partners to restore the land.

  • We have replaced nearly nine miles of fencing 
  • We have restored all the fire breaks we had to excavate at the time, to ensure there is no lasting damage to the peat
  • We have surveyed the fire damaged areas of the moor, working with Natural England, local ecologists and other stakeholders to develop a restoration plan that will see species such as Sphagnum moss replanted on the moor, which will support the recovery of biodiversity on the moor and go some way to improving water quality into our downstream reservoirs
  • We have strengthened our relationship with the fire service, establishing joint training exercises on our land, so the fire service can train their staff to deal with wildfires
  • We have invested in new kit to ensure our teams are further prepared to deal with another incident 
  • We have strengthened our links with local contractors and developed unique kit to convert normal agricultural machinery into useful fire suppression equipment

We are extremely grateful for the assistance of Lancashire Fire and Rescue, farmers and the local community for their efforts in trying to control and put out the fires as well as their help in trying to restore the moorlands. For more information, watch the video below:

To find out more about how we look after the wider environment and our catchments, click here.

Don’t light a fire in the countryside

Watch this video to learn more about the fire.