Keighley, England, UK — Up to a quarter of Ilkley Moor has been burned by the major blaze that broke out six days ago, a countryside chief hasrevealed.
Firefighter James Casey tackles the Ikley Moor blaze
And it could be 20 years before the ancient heather land is returned to its former glory at a cost of up to £100,000, said Danny Jackson of landowner Bradford Council.
The countryside and rights of way chief yesterday had crisis talks with David Kennedy, the Council’s acting chief executive, and environment portfolio holder Councillor Anne Hawkes-worth over tackling damage which has claimed around 500 acres of moorland.
“We cannot make clear decisions until a thorough assessment of the damage has been made,” he said. continued…
“We have invited English Nature to help us in this and they will arrive on Wednesday to have a first look.
“The likelihood is that several visits will be required to assess how deep the fire has penetrated and across which areas.”
He said some parts of the affected moorland could be back to normal within three to four years, but sections where the fire has taken hold in peat may take two decades to regenerate.
Countryside officers are expected to use heather seed from local sources in the regeneration process.
Sporadic downpours and the tireless efforts of fire crews and countryside workers have finally controlled the blaze.
Their efforts are currently mainly concentrated on dampening down affected areas.
Councillor Hawkesworth said they did not expect the Council to foot the entire regeneration bill.
“There are various funding streams we can tap to help us undo the damage,” she said.
“There is European money and Defra may have funding as part of its stewardship scheme.”
She said they were considering inviting Prince Charles, whose love of the countryside is well documented, to survey the damage.
“It does depend on the severity of the damage once we have been able to make our assessments,” she said.
She added that the Council was organising an event to thank people who have helped fight the fire.
“Everyone who has been involved in this magnificent effort will be invited, most likely to the Winter Gardens in Ilkley, as a token of our very great appreciation,” she said.