A SERIES of moor fires are likely to cost the fire service well over £62,000 – according to new figures.

A new report into the fires at Ilkley Moor and Marsden Moor over the Easter weekend reveal the pressures faced by West Yorkshire Fire Service in dealing with three major incidents.

And it also reveals that one of two blazes on Marsden Moor that weekend was caused by a child accidentally kicking over a disposable BBQ.

West Yorkshire Fire Authority’s Community Safety Committee will discuss the moor fires at a meeting on Friday.

The fire on Ilkley Moor started just after 3pm on April 20 – Easter Saturday, and at its height 15 engines were at the scene dealing with the large blaze.

The report says the fire was so deep into the moor that it was “not able to be extinguished until Firefighters were able to get right on top of it and drive firefighting jets deep in to the ground.”

As well as crews from West Yorkshire, 10 engines from five different forces – Tyne and Wear, Cumbria, Merseyside, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire were called to support.

One firefighter from Merseyside suffered burns during the incident.

Crews remained at the scene for four days.

On April 21, while crews were still at the scene in Ilkley, there were reports of a moor fire in Marsden.

At its height an area measuring 5km by 5km was ablaze, and 15 engines were called to deal with the fire. Firefighters were at that scene for over a week.

On April 23, while the service was dealing with both fires, crews had to respond to a fire on a neighbouring part of the moor adjacent to Owlers End Farm on Binn Lane in Marsden.

Although that blaze was not as large, 11 crews were required to tackle it.

The committee will also hear the cost to the taxpayer over the incidents. The report says that while West Yorkshire Fire Service has yet to receive invoices from the other forces who were called in to support: “An appliance with a Watch Commander and four Firefighters would cost £5,172 so an indicative cost for the ten appliances, and one support crew, would be around £62,000.”

Around £3,800 worth of equipment was damaged in the fires, and will have to be replaced.

After the Ilkley Moor fire, three young people were arrested. Last month Mohammed Zulkifl, 20, of Rufford Street, Barkerend, pleaded guilty to committing arson.

He has yet to be sentenced, but was told to expect a “substantial sentence of imprisonment.”

On the Marsden fire the report says: “The main Marsden incident is believed to have been caused by a disposable BBQ. A family enjoying a day out on the moors did report that one of their children accidentally kicked over the BBQ they had been cooking on. They did make attempts to extinguish the fire but unfortunately it quickly caught hold. They also made several 999 calls to ensure we were mobilised to the incident. On this occasion the police took the decision not to press charges.”

The second Marsden blaze is thought to have been started deliberately, but as of yet no arrests have been made.

The report concludes: “What was particularly disappointing was the unnecessary nature of these incidents, whether they were caused deliberately or accidentally. Whilst our crews were dealing with these incidents, members of the public were still going up on the moors and people were still seen to be using BBQs despite the fact they could see a major fire.

“The damage caused to the moors and its wildlife will take potentially decades to repair.

“We will all be acutely aware of the challenges brought about by climate change and the conditions which saw the rapid escalation of these incidents will not be going away.”

Since the fires a Public Space Protection Order has been implemented in Bradford, banning barbecues, bonfires and Chinese Lanterns from the district’s moors.

There has also been a major awareness campaign to warn people of the dangers of moorland fires.

The committee meets on Friday at 10.30am at the fire service HQ in Birkenshaw.