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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Fire risk closes part of moorland
A ranger puts up a sign prohibiting moorland access
Ranger Andy Farmer erects a sign outlining the ban
Rangers have closed off open moorland in the Peak District National Park to the public as soaring temperatures have increased the risk of fire.

Park officials said the right to go off the beaten track has been suspended for the first time since open access was granted in 2004.

Walkers will still be allowed to use all public rights of way.

A Peak District National Park spokesman said the park is not closed and 2,200km of public footpaths remain open.

Inflatable dam

Firefighters are on standby with specialised equipment to battle any fires and people are asked not to smoke, light naked flames or have barbecues anywhere near moorland areas.

High-risk moorland is being patrolled from dawn to dusk by rangers with binoculars, maps, two-way radios and mobile phones to send information to fire control rooms.

One of the major moorland owners, the National Trust, is bringing in temporary inflatable dams that can be set up quickly and filled with water to supply helicopters.

Park spokesman Sean Prendergast explained: "A fire will only break out if somebody starts it, either through carelessness or a deliberate act of malice.

"We want to appeal to people to take extra care not to smoke or light fires in the area, or even throw cigarette butts out of car-windows."


SEE ALSO
Roads melt as temperatures soar
18 Jul 06 |  England
Heatwave sparks health warnings
18 Jul 06 |  England
Peak District moors on fire alert
14 Jul 05 |  South Yorkshire

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