Firefighters and gamekeepers were at the forefront of tackling the fire on Bamford Moor in Derbyshire’s Peak District yesterday evening.
The fire took hold near the Bamford Edge rock formation on the moor and there were fears that many walkers who had flocked to the area could have be trapped if it was not brought under control quickly.
Fire crews were called to the incident at Bamford Moor at 4.10pm and eyewitnesses claimed the fire had been caused by a barbeque.
Local gamekeepers using their own specialist firefighting equipment tackled the blaze until 10 fire engines from the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service arrived.
Simon Gurney, Peak District board member of the Moorland Association, said: “Yet again, a disaster has been averted thanks to the efforts of gamekeepers and land managers who are there round the clock to tackle this kind of outbreak."
Paul Smith, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service station manager said firefighting crews were withdrawn at 9.30pm before returning again this morning.
He said: "Unfortunately, in addition to dealing with the incident, we’ve also had to deal with numerous people coming to see the fire.
“I’d like to appeal to members of the public to stay away."
A team of 12 gamekeepers and farmers went back to the moor late on Saturday night to tackle areas that had re-ignited.
Mr Gurney said the team were fortunate that there was not a southerly wind to fan the flames up over the edge to the heather tops.
He said: "That would have been an unstoppable inferno due to the massive fuel load that Government has allowed to build up alongside inaction to mitigate wildfire.
"The huge private investment in firefighting equipment and gamekeeper expertise is totally undervalued, but perhaps the disaster averted at Bamford compared to the two-week long Hatfield peat bog fire will bring into sharp focus the lessons that must now be learned and acted upon.
"These landscapes must be managed by man, or wildfire will manage them for us.”
Additional reporting from the Derbyshire Times
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