The recent lovely weather has brought with it the graphic images of moor and mountain ablaze with fires causing damage to wildlife and vegetation that will not recover fully for decades. The criminal stupidity behind those fires started deliberately will, hopefully, be dealt with in due course but we all have a part to play in prevention.
Fires lit when wild camping are hardly ever acceptable these days (the main, possibly only, valid exception being good practice by sea kayakers). Backpackers, climbers and hillwalkers should all rely on lightweight stoves as a source of heating for cooking and brews - there really is no reason to light an open fire. Open fires outdoors aren't just about cooking, barbecues and hanging out. Care has to be taken, not only in dry weather, especially with cigarette ends and bits of glass, as wildfires can start quickly and spread a considerable distance on peaty soil and dry grass. Such wildfires may be really difficult to access by fire fighters and even harder to put out. Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service advises, 'Without doubt, the best defence against wildfires is prevention and would urge people to do their part to ensure that fires do not start in the first place and when they do occur it is important that they are reported to the emergency services immediately.' If you notice any sign of a wildfire, ring 999 and report it.
Many commercial campsites now encourage the use of open fires and minimise risks by having prepared fire 'pits' and firewood as well as firefighting equipment handy. There can be no condoning of damage to trees and vegetation to light fires and even using fallen wood may disturb insect and small animal habitats.