Residents urged to keep the countryside safe

20/04/2020, PR-9383

Wakefield Council is urging people to play their part in protecting the countryside and avoiding putting emergency services under strain, after two woodland fires in the district.

Forest trees

An area of land the size of two football pitches was set alight at Haw Park Wood over the Easter bank holiday weekend damaging trees, woodland and wildlife.


Firefighters inspecting the area also found evidence that attempts had been made to light fires in another part of the wood at Foxwell and the Council is aware of a further attempted fire near Ryhill Reservoir which is also close to Haw Park Wood.


With the emergency services under additional pressures, due to the coronavirus pandemic, people are being asked to respect, protect and enjoy the countryside.

Cllr Maureen Cummings
Cllr Maureen Cummings

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Environment, Communities and Poverty at Wakefield Council, said: “During these unprecedented times we need to support our emergency services and avoid problems being caused by people either being careless, having campfires or barbecues - against advice, or deliberately setting woodland alight. This is never acceptable behaviour, and if anyone has information on these recent incidents they must report it to the police.


“Now it is more important than ever that we all take responsibility for keeping our district’s woodland and countryside areas safe and enjoyable for everyone to visit.”


The Council is reminding people of the positive actions they can take to protect the countryside and its wildlife, whilst out enjoying their daily exercise in urban parks and in the countryside.


With this time of year being the wildlife breeding season, dog owners are being asked to ensure their pets are not disturbing birds or animals.


People are also being reminded of they must never light barbecues or create campfires in the countryside because of the fire risk.


Additionally, people are urged to take their litter home, to avoid resources being spent on clear ups, that are funded by money from Council tax payers.

Cllr Cummings added:  “Our district is a great place with so much beautiful countryside, woodland areas and parks. Let’s all take the necessary actions to keep these spaces safe for everyone to enjoy now and in the future.”