Activists 'waste emergency services time' after calling out fire brigade for controlled burning
With a loosening of the lockdown rules on the horizon and the weather improving, increasing numbers of people will be out and about on the moors. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the RSPB chose now to launch their latest hysterical anti-heather burning campaign. Their latest ploy – their burning reports heat map – encourages anyone and everyone to get involved by reporting any controlled burning they spot across the uplands. The problem with this, of course, is that the general public are highly unlikely to know the difference between planned, controlled burning, or a dangerously out-of-control burn or wildfire.
This will of course lead to people, whether that’s the Moorland Monitors or simply walkers, wasting emergency services time by calling out the fire brigade to deal with already-controlled fires. In fact, this is already happening. Just this week, a fire crew were called out to a moorland fire in the North Yorkshire Moors: a fire which turned out to be attended, under control, and which the local fire crew had been made of aware with in advance – as is normal procedure for the majority of estates who carry out burning for moorland management. The estate manager said at the time: ‘There was no out of control or unattended fire. It was a case of mischievous reporting, to say the least. As a matter of course we inform the Fire Service each day we are burning and liaise with them throughout those days.’
As we all know, bad news makes a news story, not good news. It's vital that supporters of our moorland communities remain proactive and engage with the hundreds of positive news stories in the UK's uplands.