Fire on Dartmoor

On the evening of Thursday 11th February 2021 a very large fire approximately three miles wide broke out on the moors near Peter Tavy. Fires at this time of year are not uncommon as the very cold temperatures tend to dry out or cure the vegetation making it tinder dry. Rob Steemson the National Park Emergency Officer said that the fire was affecting an area of remote moorland and that no residents or animals had been harmed. The fire was being stoked by strong South Westerly Winds and was attended by 10 fire crews.

View From Cornwall

View From Cornwall

This image taken by Tommy Ross shows the fire lighting up the night sky. The view of the fire is from Kit Hill in Cornwall approximately 10 miles away.

Fire Management

Although this is a wildfire and on a large scale, fire is used to manage moorland habitats to remove old growth and to stimulate regeneration, with species like bilberry and moorland grasses quickly establishing themselves. This can lead to an increase in species diversity stimulating the numbers of invertebrates like insects and spiders to ultimately provide food for animals higher up the food chain like moorland birds. The controlled burning of moorland takes place between October and April when the colder conditions and wetter ground conditions make it easier to control. Burning in the summer would significantly affect wildlife. A very interesting article on this subject can be found by visiting GWCT Heather Burning Guide (mailchi.mp) or by purchasing the book Moorland Balance produced by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Dartmoor A Place of Wonder

It’s not until I’m showing people this magical place for the first time that I truly appreciate it’s beauty. It is so easy to take this unique environment for granted with it’s rugged granite tors and it’s rolling moorland landscape. To take people to Dartmoor is a real privilege and to see their reaction of awe and wonder is just such a great experience. There are so many fantastic places to see here so why not join me for a tour of this incredible landscape which has so many stories to tell.

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