Summer tourists are urged not to start fires, according to the Woodland Trust.
In view of the current warmth in the United Kingdom, the Woodland Trust has asked summer visitors not to set fires at its countryside locations.
A huge fire ripped through the moorland at Smithills near Bolton in the summer of 2018, destroying a third of the 1,700-hectare tract, killing around 2,000 trees and wiping out ecosystems.
The costs of putting out that fire are still rising three years later, and have now surpassed £1 million. While certain species like as curlew, snipe, and golden plover have begun to return, the landscape could take up to 15 years to fully recover.
A fire at Cave Hill in Northern Ireland earlier this year destroyed a substantial portion of the property, while more fires have erupted at Castle Hills in Northumberland and Martinshaw in Leicestershire.
The Trust is launching a countrywide “love your woods” campaign to encourage visitors to the Trust’s forests and moorlands to leave no trace and contribute to the preservation of its treasured places.
Barbecues and small fires, in particular, have been identified as possible threats because they can quickly spiral out of control, causing damage to habitats and species.
“Our sites are a wonderful place to visit with so much diversity – from mountainous Ben Shieldaig in Scotland and the moorlands of Smithills, to community woods and lowland forests towards the south of England, and everything in between,” said Al Crosby, the Woodland Trust’s regional director for northern England.
“Of course, we want people to enjoy them, but we also want them to look after them, which is why we launched this campaign, which is all about recognizing what makes these locations unique, and how visitors can demonstrate their affection for them and help us preserve them that way.
“Our main message to the public is to help us conserve the valuable woodlands and animals in your neighborhood by not lighting fires, which represent a significant risk to people and wildlife.
“Even if people believe they have control, things can change in an instant, and the consequences can be disastrous.”