In 2019, the Yorkshire moorland was ravaged by a fire. Now a year after the incident, a new report reveals that wildlife, like mountain hares, curlews and short-eared owls, have returned to the land.
Back in April 2019, a roaring blaze that was started by an unwilling disposable barbecue burned around 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of peatland habitat on Marsden Moor located in West Yorkshire, which took fire crews a devastating four days to fully put out. Naturally, rangers feared that entire wildlife populations that made the lands their homes were all killed.
And so the land stayed empty until after a year later, when reports revealed that some of the local wildlife are slowly returning to start life again. To help prepare the land, however, the National Trust Staff worked through the winter to repair the heavily damaged habitat as well as putting new measures in place in order to make sure any change of future fires are eliminated. These efforts were made possible by £100,000 of funds from a public fundraising appeal.
Thankfully, the efforts were not for naught since sightings of birds like curlews and skylarks as well as mountain hares have recently been made, raising hopes for rangers who feared there were very few survivors from the fires.
However, the trust said that the threat of public fire is still there so both the public and landowners are encouraged to take extra precautions during the dry season, when fires are more likely to happen.
“It’s really positive to see wildlife returning to Marsden Moor after everything that happened last year. Many hands made it happen and they have worked so hard. But while the landscape might appear to have recovered, it’s just one kind of grass that has grown back – no heather, no moss, no flowers. After several smaller fires already this spring, we know the risk of another big fire hasn’t gone away. We lost 700 hectares of important habitat last year, and I don’t think our birds and animals could withstand another loss on that scale,” Tom Harman, the lead ranger at Marsden Moor, said.