Walkers have been urged to take extra care while in the countryside following a series of moorland fires.

West Yorkshire Fire Service has said it is hoping to halt the recent spate, which has included several in the Marsden and Ripponden areas.

On Sunday, April 18, two fire engines were called to tackle a fire at Hill House Edge Lane, on Oxenhope Moor, where crews used beaters, three small jets, a hose reel and a fire fogger to tackle the 100m blaze.

Station manager Robin Ward, lead wildfire officer at the fire service, said: “The land is particularly dry at the moment because of the lack of rain in recent weeks, so the smallest ignition source will lead to a large wildfire.

“These fires cause damage to farmland, public open spaces and wildlife and quite often they are caused by carelessness.

“While it’s great news that the spell of dry weather is set to continue, it means people should take extra care while out enjoying the countryside.”

Mr Ward stressed anyone found to have started a fire deliberately which destroys a site of special scientific interest could be fined up to £20,000.

He said: “Moorland fires can take valuable firefighters and fire engines away from other serious fires, often where lives are at risk, which is why we take a very dim view of those who start fires deliberately.”

Yorkshire Water has also urged walkers to take care on the region’s moorlands if the weather continues to be warm. The plea comes following the huge blaze at Rishworth Moor, near Ripponden, last week.

Yorkshire Water’s land advisor Richard Howson said: “While our reservoirs are looking really healthy at the moment, many of the catchment areas around them are very dry.

“The heather and bracken haven’t really begun to put out new shoots yet so the dead vegetation left from last year is vulnerable to fire at this time of year, particularly if it’s dry.

“We request that people do not start any sort of fire and a stray cigarette end, a spark from a pipe or even the rays of sun through a discarded drink bottle could be equally disastrous.

“Of course, we welcome people on to our land and will do all we can to ensure the peace and tranquillity is there for them to enjoy.

“All we would ask is that, in return, anyone who heads for the countryside this weekend behaves responsibly and leaves it as they find it.”

For information on walks available at Yorkshire Water’s moorland sites visit yorkshirewater.com.