Keepers fight Saddleworth blaze

Credit: Neil T

Gamekeepers have played a key role in controlling the Saddleworth Moor fire – and in preventing other fires in the British uplands.

The blaze reached its height at the end of June before fire crews and members of the local community – including moor keepers – joined forces to combat it.

BASC explained to the government how land management for shooting results in strategic fire breaks, reducing the opportunities for fire to spread – as well as providing a crucial habitat for upland birds.

Matt Ellis, BASC’s head of science, said: “Gamekeepers have a great deal of knowledge on managing fires and using targeted and rotational burns to reduce the fuel load on the lands they manage.

“Not only does this reduce the opportunities for fire to spread, but it also provides the mosaic of habitats so valuable for upland birds.”

BASC north director Duncan Thomas added: “It is commendable to see gamekeepers working tirelessly with farmers and others from the community in helping the fire service, who are working so courageously to try to put out the fire in very difficult circumstances.

“This fire serves as a reminder that prolonged, dry weather poses a real risk in upland areas.

“Those with access to moorland areas have a responsibility to understand what they can do to prevent fires starting and to act accordingly.”

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