Snow-hit Cumbria faces grass fires

Cumbria locator Snow has mostly affected the south of Cumbria

Related Stories

Firefighters in Cumbria have dealt with a spate of grass fires, despite some parts of the county still being under several feet of snow.

In the past week at least 20 grass and gorse fires have been tackled, with some being blamed on arsonists.

Fire chiefs say an extended dry spell has left vegetation around Cleator Moor, Maryport, and Whitehaven excessively dry and easy to set alight.

Yet hundreds of sheep have died in 20ft (6 metres) snow drifts near Ulverston.

A spokesman for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said: "Since 29 March there have been more than 20 grass fires in areas including Siddick, Cleator Moor, Maryport, Broughton and Whitehaven.

'Destructive blazes'

"The school holidays tend to lead to an increase in nuisance fires. So the Easter break combined with the dry conditions is seeing our resources needlessly stretched.

"Dealing with deliberate blazes means firefighters are tied up with avoidable incidents so may not be available to attend more serious emergencies.

"A small grass or gorse fire can rapidly spread and get out of control, putting property and lives in danger.

"We've seen in Scotland over the past few days just how large and destructive these types of blazes can be.

"Parents and carers need to be aware and make sure their children know that grass and gorse fires can quickly trap the person lighting them, especially if there's a rapid change in wind direction."

Last week, Frank Jackson, who farms on the fells at Marton, near Ulverston, said he had lost at least 60 pregnant ewes in snow drifts of up to 20ft (6 metres).

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) said the county's farmers had been hit hard by heavy snow, with hundreds of animals likely to have been lost.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Cumbria



Min. Night 2 °C


  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Woman with closed eyeStrange light show

    What do you see when you close your eyes?

  • Sony WalkmanLost ideas

    What has happened to Japan's inventors?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.