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Dartmoor Fire.

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Just seen news, massive fire broke out on Dartmoor. 3 miles wide, can be seen 20 miles away.

How the heck can a moorland fire break out in February after all this rain and snow ?

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Strong drying winds on a bracken moor - similar to the moorland below Froggat and Stanage rather than the sodden, boggy moors above.

 

Similar moors in North Wales were deliberately set alight to kill off  heather (improves bird shooting) or the poisonous bracken to improve cattle grazing or   Nowadays it is called "controlled burning".

Last March there were several controlled fires in the Pennines which got out of control.

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3 minutes ago, Annie Bynnol said:

Strong drying winds on a bracken moor - similar to the moorland below Froggat and Stanage rather than the sodden, boggy moors above.

 

Similar moors in North Wales were deliberately set alight to kill off  heather (improves bird shooting) or the poisonous bracken to improve cattle grazing or   Nowadays it is called "controlled burning".

Last March there were several controlled fires in the Pennines which got out of control.

Fair enough,

How do you get a strong drying wind in the middle of Feb :huh:

It's done nothing but rain, the ground must be saturated.

How did the fire start ?  July or August I could understand it.

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There are currently similar 'wild' fires on several islands in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.

 

The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service said:

 

"The fires had broken out in vegetation that had died off since last year and then been dried out by frost and low temperatures.

The fire service said the smallest spark could start a major blaze and that places across coastal and island areas of western Scotland were at risk of similar blazes.

The "extreme" warning remains in place until Friday and covers the Highlands, Western Isles, Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway."

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Bracken becomes bone dry as it dies. It does not lie down flat and often form stooks. 

Any wind dries. Cold air is dry.

From March onward the sheep would return to the lower hillsides and then pushed upward by the cows. 

 

In July and August you cannot burn growing bracken easily and anyway you do not want  to burn the cows/sheep/game birds.

 

Setting fire to bracken and heather moors has been going on for centuries and it was often done by trailing paraffin soaked bags of shoddy on the appropriate side of the track during strong south or east winds.

Eager young teenagers would gladly join in to burn the missed bits.

When rules came in, in the seventies, to protect wildlife, it was common to see the hillsides burning in the evening and wake up to a choking smog. 

The firings were always well organised and arranged as the farms were small, the hill grazing rights shared and done under the watchful eye of Lord ....... and his keepers and managers protecting the leks. 

 

There are no natural habitats in England, if it wasn't for grazing and burning all our uplands would be dominated by trees.

 

 

Edited by Annie Bynnol

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Thanks Vic and Annie.

Still find it amazing that wild fires can start in the middle of winter.

As for Scotland Vic, -23 and fires can start.

Interesting.

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11 hours ago, Padders said:

Fair enough,

How do you get a strong drying wind in the middle of Feb :huh:

it's cold.

 

cold air is dry air.

 

these moorland areas should be a tapestry of bog and  forest - but they've been 'managed' for the benefit of grouse shooting, and sheep grazing. leaving little more than grass and heather - and dry heather burns very easily.

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I live in south east Cornwall , we could see the fire on Dartmoor from just up the lane from our house . Overnight another big fire was on Bodmin Moor which is very close to home . I feel sad for all the wildlife who have perished /

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6 minutes ago, cornishmaid said:

I live in south east Cornwall , we could see the fire on Dartmoor from just up the lane from our house . Overnight another big fire was on Bodmin Moor which is very close to home . I feel sad for all the wildlife who have perished /

Blimey, you live and learn..

I always thought moorland fires were associated with heatwaves.

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Large gorse fire on Exmoor last night between Dulverton and Bampton on the Somerset/Devon border. Stubble burning is done in a controlled manner with the fire service kept informed and regular updates. This has been  done, I reckon maliciously.

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There were fires on Glossop moors just last week...gamekeepers.

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