VOLUNTEERS dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of Crompton Moor have praised the efforts of firefighters after a blaze broke out at the scenic site.
They have now renewed a called for funding to help rebuild drystone walls, which prevented the recent incident becoming more serious.
But the Friends of Crompton Moor (FCM) group still expect the outbreak to have killed precious wildlife, including nesting birds.
The fire started in the Brushes Clough area of the moor and took hold as the ground remains dry after weeks without significant rainfall.
Friends secretary Marian Herod said: “The fire was spotted within minutes and the fire brigade called.
“We cannot thank these guys enough for what they do, risking their lives to protect us all.
“They arrived within minutes and though they were subjected to exceedingly difficult conditions due to the dryness of the ground, and the wind fanning the flames, they brought the fire under control very quickly.
“They did, however, need to return the following morning as the ground was still smouldering and sparking in places.
“Again, though they were very efficient and made it safe once more.”
The outbreak started on the steep banking to the left of a path leading up to the reservoir from the wide bend on the access road.
A strong wind on the night quickly carried it up to the top of the banking where it then found a break in the stone wall and travelled through and onto the Spoil Heaps adjacent to the main car park.
Martin added: “We are now in the bird breeding season and there would have been ground-nesting birds in that deep vegetation, along with lots of small mammals, such as voles and weasels and lots more important wildlife.
“These fires are also a serious threat to people, homes and businesses if they get out of control.”
For the last four years, FCM have spent many hours managing the spoil heaps in order to preserve the valuable habitats it contains.
The previous day, 30 gorse bushes had been planted to help with the diversity of wildlife in this area.
This particular area has paths running through it and is needed and used by people from the local community who would find it difficult to walk further up on the moor.
Marian said: “Drystone walls will help to contain fires on Crompton Moor and many need to be repaired or rebuilt.
“We have tried to get funding to do this but keep being turned down with the reason being that there is lack of evidence.
“Look at the photos and note how the fire stops at the walls, or creeps through when the wall is broken. This is unambiguous evidence that stone walls stop fires.
“Rest assured that FCM will continue to fight these issues and will restore the area.”